Clay budget delivers tax cut

Clay residents will see a nearly 20 percent cut in their town taxes this year, as promised by former Supervisor James Rowley during the police consolidation proposal.

Rowley, who resigned Oct. 13 to take a position with Onondaga County, attended Monday night's Clay Town Board meeting in order to present the budget he helped prepare.

As promised during the consolidation proposal, we will deliver on the nearly 20 percent tax cut, Rowley said. It's about $10.02 per $1,000 in assessed value. The savings are there, and they're real.

But, given the state of the economy, Rowley emphasized that the tax cut was a one-time thing.

Things are terrible, as we all know, he said. This tax cut will not be kept next year.

Rowley said, given the likely reduction in building and inspection fees, CHIPS aid and mortgage tax from the state, the town would have to raise taxes in 2010 by about $4.45 per $1,000 next year just to cover the shortfall, or 10.5 percent.

Now, that number is a little misleading, he said. We reduced taxes by a very large amount this year, and that skews the numbers a bit.

Rowley calculated that residents' taxes would have been about $12.20 per $1,000 had the police merger not gone through.

On a house valued at $112,360, that's over $60, he said. It's a significant amount.

The town of Clay's budget is actually three budgets in one: the general fund, which includes everything (the expected tax levy is $652,342, up 11.1 percent from $579,384 from 2008); the part-town fund, which covers everything in the town except for the village of North Syracuse (the expected tax levy is $919,032, down 60.5 percent from $2,296,223 in 2008); and the highway fund (the expected tax levy is $3,974,315, up 1.1 percent from $3,876,444 in 2008). The total tax levy is $5,545,689, a decrease of 19.1 percent from 2008.

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