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Madison County: Sales tax distribution formula retained

Bargabos said a move toward population-based distribution is a small move to level the fiscal playing field for smaller towns. Several of the county's smaller southern towns encompass vast areas of tax-exempt property.

Brookfield has a great deal of state forest, and Hamilton, Morrisville and Cazenovia are home to private and state educational institutions.

Hamilton Supervisor Walt Jaquay said fully 68 percent of the village of Hamilton is tax exempt, thanks in large part to Colgate University's tax-exempt status.

After Bargabos' resolution was moved and seconded, Moran immediately moved to amend the resolution and received a second from Sullivan Supervisor John M. Becker. Moran's amendment removed wording relating to population-based distribution.

"I oppose this amendment to the resolution," Bargabos said after Jaquay said he planned to vote against it. "It is important to come up with a formula that is equitable to all residents of Madison County. They all pay sales tax."

Oneida Supervisor Donald Behr (Wards 4, 5 and 6) said while it is true that distribution by assessment may not be the most fair formula, the municipalities bringing the most growth to the county are those that collect the most sales tax and that have invested in the infrastructure to attract businesses and residents.

Oneida Supervisor James Rafte Sr. (Wards 4, 5 and 6) said perhaps the county could establish a fund to help villages and smaller communities facing large expenditures.

"We've got to get this passed with the amendment so we still have the [1 percentage point] to argue about," Behr said, reminding fellow supervisors that if the measure failed, the county would not be eligible to continue collecting that extra percentage point of sales tax.

"The committee of the whole did not favor this," said Supervisor Michel DeBottis (Oneida Wards 1, 2 and 3). It went through finance, ways and means in defiance of that view. I'm all for helping out the towns, but there are other ways to do that."

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