Medina community has highest combined tax rate in region

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 June 2016 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – This photo shows Brunner International on Bates Road in Ridgeway. The side of the road where Brunner is located is outside the village, while the other side is in the village with an additional tax rate of $17.30 per $1,000 of assessed property.

MEDINA – The Medina community has the highest tax rate in the region, and Holley and Albion aren’t too far behind, according to a report today from the Empire Center.

The Empire Center looked at communities with the highest combined tax rates – village, town, county, school, libraries and other special districts.

The Village of Medina in the Town of Shelby has the highest combined tax rate at $58.19 per $1,000 of assessed property. The Empire Center’s study is based on tax rates in 2014.

The Village of Medina in Ridgeway had the second highest tax rate, $57.93, in the Finger Lakes Region, which includes nine counties. Medina has been on top of the list of highest tax rates for several years in the Finger Lakes.

Orleans communities take five of the top 11 spots in the Finger Lakes. The Village of Holley (Town of Murray, Holley Central School and Orleans County taxing jurisdictions) ranked fourth with combined tax rates of $55.08. The Village of Albion in Gaines is eighth at $51.29 and the Village of Albion in the Town of Albion is 11th at $50.53.

“The ‘all-in’ property tax bill is often a key factor in locational decisions by individuals and businesses,” the Empire Center states in the report. “In addition, the tax data point to an inverse relationship between effective tax rates and property values, with high effective rates often correlating to low median home values.”

Sloan in Erie County has the distinction of the highest combined tax rate in the state at $64.46 per $1,000 of assessed property. Several villages in Allegany County top the Medina rate: Wellsville, $63.71; Alfred, $63.17; Andover, $63.09; and Bolivar, $60.79.

Most of the most tax-oppressed communities are villages. Orleans Hub has written about the big disparity in state funding for villages compared to cities. That is one driver of the higher tax rates for villages, compared to cities.

The Orleans villages also receive a small share of the local sales tax portion. About $15 million in local sales tax is generated annually in Orleans County. The county government keeps about 92 percent of that money with only about $400,000 shared among the four villages. Other counties, such as Genesee, share far more of the sales tax with villages and towns. Genesee keeps 50 percent for the county government, and shares the other half with the City of Batavia, and Genesee villages and towns.

Former Medina Mayor Andrew Meier pushed for dissolution of the village government, saying it would knock down the tax burden on village residents by about $6 per $1,000 of assessed property. Village residents rejected dissolution, 949-527, in a Jan. 20, 2015 vote.

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