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Albion Town Supervisor says he will push to reduce taxes, fight population loss

Posted 10 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

A recent article on the Orleans Hub highlighted that, as of 2014, Orleans County has lost an estimated 2 percent (approximately 900 residents) of its population since the 2010 Census.

Conversely, the United States population grew more than 3 percent during this same time period. Orleans County, like much of Upstate New York, is struggling under a tax burden that continues to weigh on fewer and fewer taxpayers.

As Albion Town Supervisor, I know full well the challenge in assembling a budget that keeps taxes from increasing. While citizens have a right to expect outstanding services from local governments, the cost is rising exponentially every year. For example, road salt costs rose about 17 percent in 2014 over the previous year and employee health care constantly reflects a double-digit increase.

This begs the question: Where will tax revenue come as the population continues to decline? It is a question I expect from my constituents and one I would hope residents in other towns, villages, and the county at large will ask of their elected representatives. Can we continue to undertake government in the same way we did 30, 40 or 50 years ago?

As a Town Supervisor, I see it as my responsibility to make the best decisions not only for now, but the future as well. Elected leaders cannot simply do what feels good in the moment, but rather, must consider evident trends to plan for down the road.

And we cannot expect Albany to provide further financial aid when budgets are tight. It remains incumbent on us, specifically local governments, to partner together now toward a common goal: To give taxpayers the least burden to live here.

I want to see, as everyone does, the community as a whole prosper. I consider myself fortunate to work in the county I grew up and continue to reside in. Therefore, my pledge to Town of Albion constituents remains that I will be proactive in studying solutions toward solving our financial challenges, not standing idly by and maintaining the status quo. The criticism against continuous improvement will not stand in the way of adapting to changing times for an uncertain future.

Matthew Passarell
Supervisor
Town of Albion