St. Lawrence County Leaders Hope for Higher Sales Tax

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The cash register could soon ring up more money for St. Lawrence County government.  

A budget agreement in Albany, expected at any time, could specify that all counties can have a sales tax of up to 4 percent.  
 
County leaders have their fingers crossed. 
 
"If it got in the budget and was done, that would give us a sigh of relief," said Fred Morrill, chair of the county Legislature's Finance Committee.
 
For years, St. Lawrence County has struggled with its own budget - hiking property taxes as its leaders called on Albany to let it raise the sales tax to the same level most other counties already have.   
 
After the county put together a five year plan calling for a rollback in property taxes, it now looks like Albany could go along. 
 
But how do county residents feel?
 
"More taxes is never good," said Skip Fox of Potsdam.
 
"I think in the long run, there's certain things the county has to pay for and it may be the fairest way," said Florene Bero of Potsdam.  
 
So, if the county suddenly got the okay, what would happen next?
 
If the higher tax took effect as early as this fall, it could shore up the county's cash reserve. 
 
"It's very low and we're having to borrow money to meet payroll sometimes," said Morrill. 
 
Of course, the sales tax provision might not be in the budget. 
 
If not, it's back to the original plan of trying to get a law passed specific to St. Lawrence County. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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