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Marcellus village board proposes 20 percent tax hike

Marcellus village residents could see a tax rate increase of 20 percent, or $100 per $100,000 assessed property value, if the village board's tentative budget is approved.

In addition to raising the tax levy, the village plans to cut from services and eliminate one part-time clerk position and three police shifts in order to balance the budget. All village employees have also agreed to freeze their pay for the coming fiscal year.

Curtin said one factor behind the tax increase was a $160,000 reduction in sales tax revenue from the county, along with a large increase in debt service and rising costs of benefits.

In January, village property owners received a combined county and town tax bill that was nearly 23 percent lower than the previous year. Curtin said this reduction was made possible by the county's redistribution of the sales tax.

"Now there is a need for the village to make up for the revenue taken by the county and passed on to village property owners," Curtin wrote in the village's spring newsletter.

Curtin said a village resident paying taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 would have paid $151 less in county sales tax this year; village taxes for that resident would increase $100, making for a total savings of $51.

Debt services increased by more than 60 percent this year. Curtin said this resulted from major infrastructure work on Reed Parkway and Reed Street. Debt services account for more than 25 percent of this year's budget, as opposed to 16 percent last year.

Curtin said retirement and health benefits for village employees also rose more than 20 percent, an increase over which the village has no control.

The mayor expects taxpayers to question certain aspects of the budget, such as 13 percent of expenses going toward the village police department.

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