EDITORIAL: Forward-thinking villages understand tax cap law

— Budget season isn’t a season, at all. It’s a never-ending cycle of facts, figures and effects for towns and villages. With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature on the property tax cap of 2 percent, tough times were had for local towns.

The budget season for towns this year can be summed up in one word — ugly.

The law confused, befuddled and worried town councils and supervisors. Should they surpass the 2 percent tax levy cap, unknowingly or intentionally, without an override, the town could be sent down a whopping civil penalty. In tough economic times, town budgets didn’t need that extra stress.

While it seems like the end of town budget season was just last month (because it was), some local villages are jumping into their budget preparation feet-first.

The village budget process can be simplified by watching the struggle the towns had with the new law — Manlius was two days late filing their adopted budget to the state because of the tax cap. Many local towns had issues with dealing with the tax cap, bringing the votes and the final numbers down to the last minute.

We commend the East Syracuse village board for being forward-thinking and being the first village in Onondaga County, to our knowledge, to hold a public hearing on the override of the tax cap. The public hearing, scheduled for Jan. 9, is being held with the intent to override the law. While Mayor Danny Liedka says he has no intention of raising the tax levy more than 2 percent, the law is helpful in case the unfunded mandates by the state push the village over the threshold.

While the county, towns and villages aren’t always the best to work together, it’s refreshing to see one entity learning from another.

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