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Village of Liverpool leaders on edge

If county stops sharing sales tax money, smaller governments will suffer

Liverpool Mayor Gary White and Deputy Mayor Nick Kochan both spoke before the Onondaga County Legislature on Monday morning, March 15, to plead with lawmakers to retain the county's sales tax revenue-sharing program.

White and Kochan joined leaders from the county's 15 villages and 19 towns to remind legislators that the sales tax revenues represent a major portion of their annual budgets. The sales tax agreement expires at the end of this year.

Some 60,000 people, representing 10 percent of the county's total population, live in its 15 villages.

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

White told the legislators that the money the village gets each year as its share of the sales tax represents more than 25 percent of its annual operating budget.

White and Kochan addressed the Legislature March 15 along with their colleagues in the Onondaga County Mayors Association.

"The meeting was long, four hours long, and thorough," Kochan said at the village board meeting that evening. "Everyody's nervous, as we should be."

In a recent letter to residents, the Liverpool Village Board of Trustees warned that if the county keeps the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has annually shared with the village for the past decade, village services would either be drastically cut or village taxes would go up 50 percent.

The mayor told the trustees that more than a dozen village residents responded to the letter. "I want to thank those residents who wrote to tell us they support our position on this," White said.

He urged residents to contact fourth district county Legislator Judy Tassone to register their concern over the potential loss of sales tax revenue. Tassone's e-mail address is: jtasson3@verizon.net.

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