Town Taxes up 10.7%?!?! What have you gotten for that?

As I have met more and more people in our town during this campaign, it has become increasingly clear that an overriding concern is local tax bills and the value taxpayers are (or are not) getting for their money. I decided to research facts in my own checkbook. Real data! I went back over the past 6 years to figure out what I had paid in town and school taxes, and then determined the actual increases. (I have not enlarged or modified my home during these years, so there would be no large bumps from reassessment). I’ll share them with you here.

My Tax Increases

YearTown School
2014$2,693.14$7,275.72
2015$2,770.99$7,180.36
2016 $2,777.01$7,153.56
2017$2,833.53$7,176.21
2018$2,879.49$7,479.81
2019$2,981.44$7,621.94
$ Increase$288.30$346.22
% Increase10.7% 4.8%

The Results - You may be surprised!

As can be seen and calculated from the attached data, my town taxes have increased a whopping 10.7% over 6 years while my school taxes have increased by 4.8%. That’s right, town taxes have increased more than double that of the school taxes. Some of you have lived here even longer than my 32 years, so you can remember when your town tax bill was an amount that could be viewed as almost negligible to the homeowner...my friends warned me, “Save up for the school tax bill!” But they responded to my questions about the Town Tax Bill with, “Don’t worry, it’s not much.” Unfortunately, that is no longer the case as you can see by the attached data.

But There’s more!

The NYS Tax Cap is generally around 1% to 1.5%. It’s no wonder that our Town Supervisor told me that our town taxes have been over the Tax Cap 7 out of the last 8 years! Meanwhile, our school tax increase has been under the Tax Cap every single year! What’s more, each year that our school tax increase is below the tax cap, each homeowner gets a tax rebate check which slightly reduces the increase (so that 4.8% actually ends up being even smaller). That does not happen with the town tax increases. 10.7% really is 10.7%.

Reminder….

While the current Town Board was increasing your taxes by 10.7% with little if any quality of life improvements for residents, they were getting paid! In contrast, the School Board of Education doesn’t get paid a cent. The difference is that the School Board starts with the concepts that: they should not go over the Tax Cap out of respect for the community, they must ensure that residents get a tax rebate check, and they need to do this while effectively improving programs for students. In contrast, the Town Board had the money to pay their own ballooning Town Tax Bill with the salary monies you paid them out of your pockets with little to show for it.

Don’t get me wrong -

We must continue as citizens to evaluate all tax levies — school and town, as well as larger government bodies. However, there is one group that has increased taxes on the citizens with impunity — the Town Board! If/when elected, I will bring my prudent and respectful attitude to the Town Board with the critical mission of keeping our town taxes below the Tax Cap while improving quality of life issues and looking for other sources of income. Certainly, someone has to!

Contact Ralph about this topic