A taxing situation
The night before the Onondaga County Legislature voted on a proposal to reevaluate its distribution of sales taxes to towns, villages and schools, the Clay Town Board made one last plea that the entity reconsider taking the money away from municipalities.
"I spent the day getting some numbers together so that the residents of Clay can get an idea here of what the sales tax distribution means to the people of Clay," said Councilor Joseph Bick at the board's May 3 meeting. "Currently, in 2009, the town of Clay received $12 million in sales tax revenue, the vast majority of which was used to offset county property taxes. In 2009, for town tax on all taxes parcels in the town of Clay, the town collected $10 million. They're separate and one offsets the other currently."
But that distribution would change under the proposal before the legislature.
"The current tax levy is $3.16 per thousand That means that, for a house assessed at $150,000, your current county tax is roughly $474 a year," Bick said. "If we lose the $12 million in property tax credits, your county property tax will increase by $3.80 per thousand, which, for $150,000, your property tax from the county will go up $570. That's a 120 percent increase in county taxes."
Bick said such an increase would have a huge impact on local taxpayers.
"If you're like me and you have a house with a mortgage with [taxes paid out of an] escrow [account], that will raise my mortgage $50 a month," he said. "If you find this as upsetting as I do, if you live in the town of Clay or not, if you live outside the city of Syracuse, take an opportunity to call your county legislator and tell them that. Tell them you have no interest in having your county taxes increased 120 percent through the back door Our taxes will go up if we get no sales tax revenue."