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Liverpool Village Board discusses the sales tax blues

Village property taxes could rise if county stops sharing sales tax revenues

Liverpool Mayor Gary White is working with the Onondaga County Mayors Association to urge the county to retain its current sales tax sharing formula.

Leaders from the county's 15 villages and 19 towns are expected to address the Legislature at a March 15 public hearing on the issue. Deputy Mayor Nick Kochan plans to speak that day on behalf of Liverpool.

According to figures from the county Comptroller's Office, Liverpool earned more than $585,000 from its share of the 4 percent county sales tax for the year 2008. The town of Salina earned $7.1 million that year, and the Liverpool Central School District got $1.7 million.

The Liverpool Village Board of Trustees met March 8 for a special work session at which they drafted a letter to residents warning that if the county hold on to the $585,000 it has annually shared with the village for the past decade, either village services will be dramatically curtailed or taxes will rise 50 percent.

"The residents need to know that there's a very real possibility that we may lose all of our sales tax revenue," White told the trustees. "That revenue represents 25 percent of our annual budget [approximately $2.7 million]. If we lose that revenue stream that would drastically change the way we do business here in the village."

To make up for the shortfall while keeping services such as police, DPW and code enforcement at present levels, village property taxes would have to be raised by 50 percent, White said.

For the past ten years, Onondaga County has distributed up to $293 million annually to villages, towns and school districts within its borders. The money represents the municipalities' share of receipts from the county sales tax. The sales tax agreement expires at the end of this year.

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