Yates shifts too much of its tax increase to village property owners

Posted 27 January 2021 at 7:47 am

Editor:

With no public explanation by the Yates Town Board about the Town of Yates taxes within the Village of Lyndonville on your 2021 County & Town Tax bill, I will do my best to give an explanation.

There are 7 funds that are incorporated into developing a budget for the Town of Yates: A – General Townwide; B – General Outside the Village; DA – Highway Townwide; DB – Highway Outside the Village; SF – Fire Protection District; SW2 – Water District #2; SW4 – Water District #4.

Taxpayers outside the Village are billed by the Town for the costs of the Town’s Fire Protection District and for the costs of the Water District in which their property is located. Village taxpayers pay for fire and water services in their Village taxes.

The Town tax rate is developed each year based on the amount of money that needs to be raised by taxes in the A, B, DA and DB accounts described above. All taxpayers within the Town (inside and outside the Village) are taxed to cover  the A and DA accounts.

Only taxpayers outside the Village are taxed for covering the B and DB accounts. Services covered in these 2 accounts are covered by Village taxes for Village taxpayers. Thus, with more money needing to be raised by taxes for those living outside the Village, the tax rate for those outside the Village is greater than for those inside the Village. Village taxes more than make up for the difference!!

For 2021, the Yates Town Board approved going over the NY State 2% Tax Cap. The amount needed to be raised by taxes for 2021 was an increase of 15.29%. To cover this increase, the Board worked out a tax rate outside the Village that increased by about $0.50 / thousand dollars of assessment ($50 for a home assessed at $100,000) and a tax rate within the Village increasing by about $1.16 / thousand ($116 for a home assessed at $100,000), 2.32 times more than for outside the Village!!

When I questioned the Board about this at its Jan. 14th Town Board meeting, Supervisor Simon explained that the Town Board found that there was a disparity between the tax rates inside and outside the Village. He stated that the imbalance has been in place for a long time and that the only way to get it back in balance was for this increase in the Village.

My reply was that the discrepancy is caused by the taxpayers outside the Village being responsible for covering the costs of the B and DB accounts that those inside the Village aren’t taxed for. Supervisor Simon stated that he couldn’t agree with the way I summarized my concern. He stated that the Board closely looked at all the numbers and came to the conclusion to do as they did.

I served as a Councilman on the Town Board for 10 years from 2010-2019. In preparation of budgets, never did I witness anything close to this situation. I also looked at the tax rates since 2010 for the 6 towns within Orleans County that have rates for municipalities both inside and outside their town. Again, I could not find anything close to this situation. Would it have made a difference in making this decision if any of the five Town Board members lived within the Village? Just asking for a friend!

If this explanation of what happened with Town of Yates taxes, specifically within the Village of Lyndonville, concerns you and you have ever given any thought to running for the Town Board, this might be your year to give it a try.

Three Town Board seats will be up for election in November – Supervisor and 2 Town Council positions. The process of political committees choosing who they will endorse is beginning in towns as you read this. Should you contact your local political committee to express your interest in a position and not be selected for endorsement, you can individually complete a petition and submit it to the Board of Elections. There are timelines for this process.  For more information contact your local political committee or the Orleans County Board of Elections as soon as possible.

Wes Bradley

Lyndonville