Jefferson County Property Taxes Could Rise Under Proposed Budget
Jefferson County property owners will pay more in taxes, as the county prepares to spend more next year.
That's unless county lawmakers decide to trim from the budget proposal, which they'll have a chance to look at when they meet next week.
As the budget plan stands right now, the county will spend 3.4 percent more next year.
The tax levy - the amount the county collects from taxes - is proposed to go up 4 percent. It would amount to a modest increase for most homeowners.
A property owner with a house valued at $100,000 would pay $19 dollars more in taxes.
"We want to make it even less than what's proposed, but yes, there's a possibility that 'slight' is still going to be in the vocabulary after we adopt the budget," said Scott Gray, the finance committee chairman.
If taxes go up even a little, it will be the first time in nine years that's happened.
For years, Jefferson County's budget has depended on a construction boom, which is "slowing down a bit," accordiing to Gray.
And sales tax collections could also slow as Fort Drum soldiers are again deployed.
Add to that the cost of state-mandated programs like Medicaid, and there is less to spend on things like roads.
District 11 legislator Bobby Ferris is one of several legislators expected to press for more spending on county roads. But Ferris acknowledges the dual pressures of rising costs and no one wanting a tax increase.
"That, obviously, makes it a little more difficult for us," he said.
The budget review is scheduled to be finished by November 13.
Friday, May 24, 2013, Watertown, NY
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