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Skaneateles mayor, trustee disagree on tax increase

Board adopts 2014-15 budget by 4-1vote

The Skaneateles Village Board voted 4-1 in favor of adopting the proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at its April 24 meeting.

The general fund budget will be $2,780,177. Of that, the village will raise $1,500,835 from property taxes, a 1.93 increase from the current year.

Under the budget, the tax rate will increase from $3.58 to $3.62 per $1,000 of assessed value — an increase of 1.1 percent. A house valued at $275,000 will pay $995.50 in taxes to the village an increase of $11 from the current rate.

The “no” vote, a rarity for the board, came from Trustee Jim Lanning, who stated: “It is my opinion there is no justification for a property tax increase at this time, so I’ll vote no.”

After the meeting, Lanning said that raising taxes shouldn’t be done solely because of the state’s tax cap.

“We have a 2 percent property tax cap which means that [2 percent] is the most that we can raise it any one year, so to get around that some municipalities are just raising taxes every year. The town board for the past three or four year has actually reduced the tax rate, so we can do it here at the village as well,” he said.

The village has reserve funds, close to $1 million, it could use to balance the budget without a tax increase, he said. After talking to the state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, he learned that the amount of reserve funds the village has is close to being considered excessive by the state.

Mayor Marty Hubbard, who acts as the village’s chief financial officer, had a different view on the budget.

“With the New York state tax cap in place, it is fiscally responsible to annually raise taxes within that limit,” Hubbard said.

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