Medina village approves 14.9% tax increase as tax rate tops $20 for first time

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2023 at 9:20 am

MEDINA – Village property owners are in for a big tax increase. The Village Board on Monday evening approved a $7,593,286 budget with a 14.9 percent tax hike.

The village will be collecting $3,786,964 in property taxes, which is up $490,824 from the $3,296,140 tax levy. The budget increases the tax rate by 11.6 percent from $18.85 to $21.15 per $1,000 of assessed property. This is the first time Medina, or any village in Orleans County, tops a $20 tax rate.

Property owners in the Town of Ridgeway are at a 76 percent equalization rate and will pay a village tax rate of $21.24 per $1,000. In Shelby, which is at an 80 percent equalization rate, the village tax rate will be $20.18.

“This year’s budget was one of the most difficult budgets I’ve been involved with in 6 years,” Medina Mayor Mike Sidari said during the meeting on Monday. “We had many, many meetings and many sleepless nights.”

During a public hearing on the tentative budget on April 10, Medina was at a tax rate over $28. Sidari said the budget was chopped since then, but couldn’t contain nearly $400,000 in salary increases and higher costs for employee benefits, including health insurance and retirement.

The final budget shows salaries are up by $191,145 to $3,308,492, while employee benefits increased by $182,391 to $1,580,725.

Sidari said the village also faces rising fuel, inflation and other expenses that couldn’t be avoided.

The board knew the village was headed for a difficult budget process months ago. The board imposed a spending freeze on department heads beginning in January, Sidari said.

Medina faces rising costs and relies on property taxes to offset the increases. The village hasn’t been able to get more of the local sales tax. The county has kept the village and town allotments frozen since 2001. Medina is due to receive $152,047 in the local sales tax this year. Last year the total local sales tax topped $22.5 million in the county.

The state also hasn’t increased the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities or AIM in several years. Medina, population 6,047 in the 2020 census, only gets $45,523 in AIM funding or about $7.50 a person. If Medina was treated as a city it would get much more in AIM. The City of Sherrill, the state’s smallest city with 3,054 people in Oneida County, receives $372,689 or $122 per capita. Another small city, Salamanca in Cattaraugus County, gets $928,131 for a city of 5,929 people or $156 per capita.

Medina hasn’t done a full re-evaluation of its tax base in about five years. The taxable valuation of village increased from $173,928,941 a year ago to $178,984,667 for the new budget. A re-evaluation is planned but those new values won’t take effect until the 2024-25 budget. A higher tax base should drive down the tax rate in the next budget.

The big jump in taxes follows several years of small increases. Here are the recent tax levy amounts and tax rates for the village budget:

  • 2023-23 tax levy, $3,786,964; tax rate, $21.15
  • 2022-23 tax levy, $3,296,140; tax rate, $18.95
  • 2021-22 tax levy, $3,259,119; tax rate, $18.77
  • 2020-21 tax levy, $3,197,059; tax rate, $18.46
  • 2019-20 tax levy, $3,138,059; tax rate, $18.32