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Medina village among most tax oppressed in state

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 November 2014 at 1:56 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers – Property owners in the village of Medina pay one of the highest combined tax rates – village, town, county and school taxes – of any community in the state.

MEDINA – A new report from the Empire Center lists the combined tax rates of 3,663 jurisdictions across the state. Medina is near the top for the highest tax rates.

Village residents in the Town of Shelby paid a $54.13 tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property in 2012. That was the 13th highest in the state. Village residents in the Town of Ridgeway paid a $53.82 rate, the 16th highest in the state.

Several jurisdictions in Orleans County were in the top 100 for highest tax rates, but none were higher than the Village of Medina.

The Village of Wellsville in Allegany County was the highest overall with a combined rate of $67.78. Several Allegany communities – Alfred, Friendship, Andover and Bolivar-Richberg – topped Medina.

The high tax rates have a negative impact on real estate values, depressing prices. Allegany is the only county with lower real estate values than Orleans. The median value in Allegany was $73,000 in 2012, with Orleans at $77,000.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier said the real estate prices are more devalued in the villages, where property owners pay far more in taxes than residents outside the village borders.

That is one reason why he is pushing for a dissolution of the village government in Medina, to try to reduce the gap between the tax rates for village and outside-village property owners. Village residents will vote on that issue on Jan. 20.

Medina’s rate is the highest in the Finger Lakes region. Meier looked at the state-wide numbers and concluded 99.64 percent of jurisdictions have lower rates than Medina.

“That is wretched,” he said. “It doesn’t help draw people and investment to our community.”

To achieve such a high tax rate in 2012, Medina did it with a $25.63 rate for the school district, $15.52 for the village, $9.63 for county and either $3.35 for Town of Shelby or $3.01 for Town of Ridgeway.

The average village rate in Upstate NY is $34.28, according to the Empire Center report that came out on Monday. That’s nearly $20 less than in Medina.

Other Orleans County jurisdictions aren’t too far behind Medina.

• The Village of Holley is 50th at $49.98 – $24.94 for school, $12.99 for village, $9.65 for county and $2.40 for town of Murray.

• The Village of Albion in Gaines is 77th at $47.77 – $18.06 for school, $15.92 for village, $9.60 for county and $4.19 for town.

• The Town of Barre in Medina school district is 95th at $46.81 – $25.63 for school, $9.61 for county, $9.34 for town and $2.23 for special districts.

• The Village of Albion in the town of Albion is 101st at $46.43 – $18.06 for school, $15.92 for village, $9.60 for county and $2.85 for town.

• The Town of Barre in the Holley school district is 108th at $46.12 – $24.94 for school, $9.61 for county, $9.34 for town and $2.23 for special districts.

Even without the village rate, Shelby and Ridgeway show up in the top 200 overall in the state. The Town of Shelby came in at $43.67 for 154th, with the Town of Ridgeway at 161st with a combined rate of $43.52.

The lowest overall rate in state goes to Sagaponack on Suffolk County at $1.19.

For more on the Empire Center report, click here.