Salina overrides state's property tax cap

The Salina Town Board overrode the state's two percent tax cap by enacting a local law Sept. 24.

The Salina Town Board overrode the state's two percent tax cap by enacting a local law Sept. 24. Matthew Liptak

— The town of Salina adopted a law that overrides New York State's 2 percent property tax cap. The law was passed at the town board meeting Sept. 24 after a public hearing during which no one spoke to speak in favor or against the measure.

Like other municipalities in the area, the board said they were taking the measure as a precautionary action only, but it is unclear whether or not the override will actually be needed for the next budget. The law was passed unanimously by the board members present, Supervisor Mark Nicotra and ward councilors James Magnarelli, Jerry Ciciarelli and Mike Del Vecchio Jr. Colleen Gunnip was not present.

“We may not go over that tax cap but we don't know that and it's going to be close for us,” Nicotra said. “If you don't do it and you go over the tax cap, it's worse for you.”

Nicotra referred to the repercussions the state brings down on any municipality that goes over the cap without having passed a local override law first. New York state would take any monies over the 2 percent rise in property taxes and place them in a deferred revenue account that the municipality couldn't touch for a year.

Some municipalities have found the state's cap override formula confusing and open to interpretation. It involves tax growth, New York state retirement payments, PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) and judgments and claims.

“The other reason is, the state keeps interpreting this law differently so there are all these different nuances that keep popping up, which, if one popped up that we weren't expecting and that they didn't talk about before, we could get caught,” Nicotra said. “The cap in general, I think the concept is good. In practice it's not as practical as it seems. It's just not as practical in practice. It's very difficult without some form of relief ... especially in terms of pensions and things like that.”

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