Feb 06, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
For the first time in 14 years, village property taxes are on the rise in Liverpool.
“Due to Onondaga County taking half of the village sales tax money,” said Mayor Gary White, “our budget will be short on revenues by $285,000.”
To make up the shortfall, village government anticipates raising taxes by approximately 22 percent.
“It’ll all depend on how the numbers shake out, “White said, “but whatever tax increase we approve, it’ll be partially offset by the decrease in the county tax rate.”
The village’s current budget is $2.1 million.
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
Liverpool must approve its 2011-12 budget by April 30.
The likelihood of a tax increase was discussed in detail at a Jan. 31 pre-budget session at Village Hall.
For the past ten years nearly one-quarter of the village’s $2 million budget -$550,000 – came from its share of the 4 percent county sales tax. Last May 4 the Onondaga County Legislature voted to retain a larger share of the $280 million it collects in sales tax annually.
At the pre-budget session Liverpool Trustee Nick Kochan said the county’s maneuver made it difficult for towns and villages to balance their budgets.
“With the sales-tax decision,” Kochan said, “we were dealt a lousy hand by the county. It’s been really hard.”
Rather than cut village services, White said, “In my personal opinion, I’d rather dig into my pocket and pay the extra $235, and that’s going to be offset somewhat by the $132 decrease in the county tax rate.”
The county tax rate for village property owners went down by $1.32 per thousand, due to the sales-tax decision, White explained.
County Legislator Judy Tassone said that the Legislature’s budget allowed villages to retain a larger share of sales-tax revenues, but it was vetoed by County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “If our budget – the Legislature’s budget – had been signed, village taxes probably wouldn’t be going up at all,” Tassone said.
The last time village taxes rose was 1997 when the rate topped out at $11.08. That rate remained flat through 2006.
In 2007 the tax rate was lowered to $10.08. It remained the same in 2008, went down to $9.99 in 2009 and was lowered again to $9.76 in 2010.
Over those years, explained Village Clerk Mary Ellen Sims, “Property assessments rose so property tax rates went down with the net result being no increase in the tax bills.”
Taxable assessed values were $103,203,390 in 2007; $117,685,507 in 2008; $120,533,353 in 2009; and $121,385,003 in 2010.
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.
In order to cover all village expenses, taxes collected would need to total $1,469,972, Sims said.
“Keep in mind that taxable values will probably go up – which would lower the tax rate a little,” the clerk said. “Also the figures discussed on Jan. 31 are very preliminary. We’ll have a better grasp when worksheets are turned in by department heads and we receive taxable values from the county.”
About a dozen village residents attended the Jan. 31 meeting along with the board of trustees, village department heads, Legislator Tassone, town of Salina Superintendent Mark Nicotra and Onondaga County’s director of inter-governmental relations, Travis Glazier.
Copies of the pre-budget session presentation are available at the Village Hall, 310 Sycamore St., and online at villageofliverpool.org.