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Utility requests refund

In what was already a difficult year economically for the village of Cazenovia, a National Grid request for a refund could impact village taxpayers.

"Along the same line, National Grid reported in December that they overpaid us for the Utility Gross Receipt Tax from December 2005 to September 2008," said Cazenovia Village Mayor Thomas Dougherty at a village board meeting last week. "They are requesting $23,781 be paid in full with appropriate interest."

Dougherty said that the refund would be hard on the budget.

"We budgeted $38,000 for Utility Gross Receipt Tax for 2008 to 2009," Dougherty said. "A 25-percent decrease in that budget line would cost the taxpayers an additional $9,500."

Before any action is taken, the board is waiting for the recommendation of the New York Conference of Mayors. NYCOM has been contacted by several member cities and villages that have also been contacted by National Grid with similar requests.

Peter A. Baynes, NYCOM executive director, wrote to mayors, managers, administrators and fiscal officers explaining that National Grid claims "they mistakenly paid the tax on services that did not originate within the boundaries of the municipality."

NYCOM is working with the Public Service Commission to verify whether the claim is valid, if a refund can be demanded and if interest can be charged (and at what rate). NYCOM advised its members to not make payment until they resolved these issues.

Dougherty also announced last week that the 2008-09 budget is currently $15,885 dollars behind last year's revenues, a decrease of 5 percent.

"By the end of the budget year, we could be minus $30,000 in revenues," Dougherty said.

Cazenovia resident Bob Lucas commented on the importance of keeping tax revenue in Cazenovia.

"The key thing is, people don't realize the county ends at the end of the lake," Lucas said.

Lucas said he wants residents to realize that if they spend money in Fayetteville and Manlius, the money does not help their community.

Dougherty expressed a similar sentiment.

"If you spend money out of Madison County, it's gone," he said.

The village is working on several projects meant to improve the area and stimulate the economy, but in the short term, spending is of great concern.

"Times are tight, and we definitely need to mind our spending in these trying times," Dougherty said.

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