On Sept. 15, the county executive presented the 2018 county budget. Adopting the budget is the most important business we conduct at the legislature. I have spent the past several months knocking on doors, listening to the concerns of my neighbors. The message has been consistent — “do something to lower my taxes.” The legislature and the county executive have been focused on reducing the property tax burden the past several budget cycles. I am eager to continue that trend.
Local governments across New York state are burdened with unfunded state mandates. While the state has attempted to make some changes to relieve this problem, it is still not enough, and the mandated costs are too high. The cost of these mandates are out of the control of the county executive and the legislature. However, we have been finding methods to keep the tax levy down and the liability on taxpayers to a minimum.
This is where the focus on economic development and tourism is so important. Sales tax revenues are necessary to ensure we are not always looking to raise taxes on property owners. My goal is to continue to maintain the essential services we provide and improve the infrastructure we rely on, without raising property taxes.
As a vice chair of two standing committees, Environmental Protection and Health, I have had the opportunity to hear from county departments over the past several months regarding their needs and how we can address them in the most cost-effective manner possible. They are aware of the important balance of providing their services and their responsibility to the property taxpayers.
Property taxes are a little more than 10 percent of the revenue needed to balance the county’s $1.2 billion budget. However, in many cases, property taxes account for one of the largest expenditures for a household. With many elderly on fixed incomes and many of our young families carrying student loans, it needs to be a priority to lower the property tax levy. The best way to accomplish this is through continued sensible spending and reducing the burden on taxpayers.
Tim Burtis represents the Third Legislative District, which includes the town of Cicero and portions of the town of Manlius. Tim welcomes constituent feedback; he can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at (315) 396-3300.