Sales tax distribution shifts slightly to villages in 2021

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 December 2020 at 9:45 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Traffic moves through Main Street in Albion on Dec. 26.

The County Legislature has approved the 2021 sales tax apportionment and it breaks a recent trend by giving the four villages a slight increase in the sales tax.

In recent years, the towns with villages has received small increases each year – at the expense of the villages.

The county receives about $17 million in sales tax annually, and shares $1,366,671 with the four villages and 10 towns. They have been frozen at that level since 2001.

The Legislature opted to not cut the towns’ and villages’ sales tax share for 2021, despite the strain on the county budget from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once a decade the town and village amounts are set based on local population. However, each year after that the share is modified based on the assessed values of towns with villages.

There are four villages but two of them, Albion and Medina, are in two towns. So that makes six out of the 10 towns with villages as part of their population. Barre, Carlton, Clarendon and Kendall don’t have villages so their sales tax has been unchanged for nearly a decade.

With the towns with villages, if a town grows its tax base faster than the rate in a village, that town will get more sales tax – by getting more of the village’s. That is what happened almost every year since 2001. Most of the new development is just outside the village borders, or reassessments give the towns bigger increases than in the villages.

The villages saw their share take a hit by nearly $30,000 from 2013 to 2020, falling from $404,661 in 2013 to $375,620 in 2020.

But in 2021, the six towns with villages will collectively receive $7,831 less with the difference going to the villages. The Village of Albion will get $2,465 more, while Holley is up $906, Lyndonville gets a $1,125 increase and Medina is up $3,335.

Despite the increases, the four villages are still down significantly from their peaks in sales tax in the last 20 years.

In Albion, the village hit a high of $211,669 for Albion in 2004. In 2021, it will receive $168,153, which is $43,516 less than in 2004.

In Holley, the village hit a high of $62,549 in 2002 – 19 years later it’s down to $45,957, a cut of $16,592.

Lyndonville was at $18,592 in 2002 and has dropped to $16,368 in 2021.

In Medina, the village received a high of $173,592 in 2002 and will be at $152,973 in 2021, a decline of $20,619.