Still stinging from Onondaga County's decision to cut villages out of its annual sales tax revenue-sharing program, the village of Liverpool will raise taxes to pay for its 2011-12 budget. It will be the first tax hike here in 14 years.
"I feel bad that we weren't able to have an effect on the county Legislature," said Liverpool Mayor Gary White. "We went in there swinging and ended up flat begging them," but the Legislature voted to keep the money it derives from its 4 percent sales-tax levy to offset its own budget shortfalls and to help the city of Syracuse.
"Due to Onondaga County taking half of the village sales tax money," White said, "our budget is short on revenues by $285,000."
To make up for that loss, village property taxes will rise by approximately 22 percent.
White made his statements at an April 11 public hearing on the budget prior to the monthly meeting of the board of trustees. The trustees met again April 15 to discuss contract negotiations, and a special meeting is scheduled for April 25 to adopt the 2011-2012 budget which calls for $2,223,428 in spending.
Last year, when the village property tax rate was $9.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, a home assessed at $100,000 received a tax bill for $976. In 2011, that same property owner would pay $1,191 - an increase of $235 - if the board of trustees approves the 2011 budget as expected. All properties in the village must also pay a $150-per unit sewer rent charge.
Meanwhile, the county tax rate for village property owners is going down by $1.32 per thousand, due to the sales-tax distribution decision. So, for $100,000 homeowners, their village tax bills "will be offset somewhat by the $132 decrease in the county tax rate," the mayor said.
Last year, the village collected $1,184,717 in property taxes. The balance of its budget comes from sources such as court fines, fees, Gleason Mansion rental income, interest income and the county's new Village Infrastructure Program which was established in lieu of sales-tax revenue sharing.
Despite coming out on the short end of the stick on the county's sales tax decision, White sees some light at the end of the tunnel.
"Over time, the expansion of the village business district will offset the sales tax bite," the mayor said.