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Village of Manlius taxes to increase 1.26 percent

— After a month of budget workshops and discussions, the Manlius Village Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2014-15 budget on April 22. The spending plan calls for an increase of the village’s tax rate by 10 cents to a rate of $8 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Board members cited a combination of a large dropoff in property tax revenues and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “tax freeze” incentive, which was included in the New York State 2014-15 budget, as reasons why a tax hike makes sense for the village in 2014.

The “tax freeze” proposes to use state money to refund homeowners who live in municipalities that keep tax increases within 2 percent. Residents who live in these municipalities would be sent a check in the mail for the amount of the difference that they pay after the increase.

“We have the opportunity [to raise taxes] with more money coming into the community which will hopefully be spent somewhere in the community, and we probably won’t have this option over and over again,” said Trustee Nancy Pfeiffer.

The second part of the “tax freeze” requires local governments to make “serious attempts” to consolidate services with other nearby municipalities as a way to cut costs that would lead to lower taxes. Mayor Paul Whorrall said that an exception was made for the village of Manlius because it already shares services in several departments with a number of neighboring local governments.

“Initially, it said that you had to [set up] new shared services and a lot of municipalities complained – we were one of them, along with Fayetteville and East Syracuse, because we’re already doing so much,” he said. “We [told the state], ‘Don’t penalize us because we’re already doing what you want. You haven’t left us any leeway to start anything new, let us incorporate what we’re already doing.”

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