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Village Takes Sides In County Sales Tax Talks

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The Village of Homer has posted a message to residents about the proposed county sales tax sharing agreement, saying it could lead to program cuts or a tax hike for the village.

The village prefers a proposal from the City of Cortland.

In the message (copied below), the village urges residents to contact county legislators Linda Jones and Kelly Preston directly with your opinion on the situation.

Village of Homer Residents:

The County Legislature is preparing to vote on a new sales tax sharing agreement. We have signed on to a proposal that would stabilize the agreement for 30 years as well as allowing Cortland County to bond out for their jail expansion.

If the legislature does not agree to this, their proposal is to keep more of the sales tax for the county to try and pay for the jail and other areas where they have shown 0 fiscal discipline.

If that happens, and they cut the amount we receive here in the Village of Homer, we will be forced to cut services or raise taxes to make up for it – in essence, they are just raising taxes on you without the courage to do it directly.

Please contact your county legislator and make your voice heard on this issue. Tell them you want a fair agreement with the county and not for them to raise your taxes by forcing us to.

Below is a statement from City of Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin on his sales tax proposal:

The County and the City have an agreement that allocates sales tax to all municipalities in Cortland County. As Mayor for the City, I understand the importance of this agreement to everyone. Last Thursday, I proposed a sharing of the sales tax revenue that does not damage anyone’s portion of the revenue, allows all entities to plan for the long-term, and gives an opportunity for investment in costly and necessary infrastructure.

This proposed agreement will give everyone greater stability when planning budgets. It also would allow the County the opportunity to bond for up to $19.6 MILLION, to address infrastructure needs. At the meeting, Mr. Wagner stated that he thought if the county “sharpened their pencils” they could bring the cost of renovations to the current jail down to $15 million. Chairman Sudbrink stated that with the proper work being done, the jail could last, “70, 80 years” (at least 40 more years, from today). There is approximately $3 million still owed on the land for the interoperable radio system. This money could pay off the land, eliminating debt from the county. Two major concerns could be immediately addressed. Without raising taxes.

This would also allow the City to bond for structural and infrastructure needs, and would provide money for the towns and villages to address similar costs. Our City facilities have major infrastructure costs, as do the towns and villages. Government officials are elected in 2 year cycles in Cortland County. This does not give much opportunity or incentive for officials to do long-term planning. This proposal gives us all the opportunity to do what is necessary for all local entities.

I listened to what the County expressed as its concerns, and needs. The local towns, villages, and city representatives met and talked about what our needs are. Taking $1.5 million off the top to fund infrastructure needs will give all of us the opportunity to address expensive and critical needs, without raising property taxes. That is why the local entities unanimously agreed that this proposal is the one that we want.

In order to plan appropriately for the 2019 budget, we need to have an agreement in place before June 30. I encourage everyone to speak with their elected representatives, and tell them your thoughts on how sales tax should be distributed in Cortland County. The plan I put forward is not the City’s plan; it is the plan for fiscal responsibility and accountability for all of us.

Sincerely,

Mayor Brian Tobin
City of Cortland
25 Court Street
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-0872
btobin@cortland.org
“The Crown City of New York”

The county has not made its proposal available at this time.

 

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