LETTER: A letter to fellow Lysander taxpayers

To the editor:

I personally write this letter to you, and ultimately seek your input as the Lysander town board presents the proposed 2014 Lysander town budget to the public. Quite possibly, this may be the biggest one-year town property tax increase in our town’s history, and it is important for me to hear your thoughts – especially if you are not able to make the budget public hearing on November 7 at 7 p.m. Kindly allow me to explain.

As I pen this letter, the proposed town property tax rate increase for 2014 is set at 37.8 percent above the 2013 rate. What does this mean to the average homeowner? According to Zillow.com, the average home in Lysander is valued at about $180,000. Based on that value, the average Lysander home’s town taxes were $286.20 for 2013. (Please note that this does not include county, school and any special district taxes.) With the increase proposed in the 2014 budget, the new taxes on the average home valued at $180,000 will now be $394.58. That’s $108.38 more in town property taxes next year than 2013.

The new budget calls for a tax rate increase from $1.59 per thousand of assessed value for the current home to the new rate of $2.19, which is a 60-cent increase per thousand in assessed value. So, what’s driving this substantial increase? It is mostly our roads and new increased taxes for special districts. All members of the town board agree that collectively our town roads are in bad shape. It has been said that they haven’t had the appropriate maintenance and repairs for literally decades, and through the stewardship of several previous town highway superintendents. This past summer we hired an intern engineer to work with our town engineer and highway superintendent, Gene Dinsmore, to get a better understanding as to just how bad our town roads are. The results of that study confirmed that our roads are indeed in bad shape.

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