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Candidate would share more local sales tax with towns, villages

Posted 21 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

This is my second letter on one of the many issues that plague this county. The sharing and distribution of the sales tax to towns and villages.

As a county I consider each town and village as a unique entity but when it comes to sales tax we are all as one. The sales tax that is collected comes from ALL of Orleans County. The county’s take on sales tax for 2015 may be in the 15-million-dollar range.

The county will only part with about 1 million of that for our towns and villages. Are they kidding? The formula the county uses by assessed value is a joke. The collected sales tax money comes from and belongs to all of us.

Every town and every village is cash strapped and passes that on to us in the form of higher taxes. This miniscule amount that the Legislature reluctantly doles out has been frozen since 2001. That’s 14 years.

In the mean time the beautiful Village of Medina is facing tax increases and flight of residents hurting property values. The Village of Albion has had to borrow money to put new roofs on village buildings. They can’t even afford to demolish blight abandoned houses in the neighborhoods.

I talked with a Village of Lyndonville trustee, who says the village doesn’t know where it will get the money to demolish an abandoned house in our village.

This story that I’m telling you goes on in all our towns and villages throughout our county.

We can not rely on the state for this kind of taxpayer funding. The money is right here in our county. Our establishment Republican legislators won’t give up one dime more to help the people they represent, including the current legislator who I am running against who represents Yates, Ridgeway and part of Shelby.

If we can’t depend on our local leaders to help us, then who? They are the closest representation that we have – the people that we can reach out to. Albany is distant and far.

I stand with the towns and villages on this issue. Above all I stand with the residents of Orleans County that are burdened with outrageous property taxes.

I would like to see a half and half share of this sales tax to all towns and villages. If it’s $15 million, the county gets $7.5 million and the other $7.5 million goes to the towns and villages. This would give the all towns and the very cash-starved villages the shot that they need to get caught up and reduce taxes.

Reducing taxes would bring in more sales tax, grow business, bring in young families with children to grow our declining school population and fill the empty houses. Maybe even spur some growth of new houses.

Our selfish leadership at the Legislature can’t see this and none we elected will stand up for us. You want to talk about cooperation? This would be a great start to a renewed Orleans County.

The County Legislature would have to make some changes but I know there is much fat and redundant programs that could be trimmed.

This is what I would like to see be done with this sales tax inequity. It will not be easy to get this done, but you have to put in place people who will work for you instead of against you .

We have to reduce the property taxes throughout this county if we are to succeed and thrive. It is a must.

Paul Lauricella Jr.
Yates