Taxes To Soar 38% Under Massena Budget Plan

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Massena Town Supervisor Joe Gray says the days of little or no tax increases may be over for good and what he describes as "painful" cuts and property tax hikes are looming.

In fact, his proposed spending plan for next year would raise taxes by 30 to 38 percent depending on where you live.
 
"No one likes the tax increases that we're looking at and that may change. We have a lot of work to do. The town board has been good in the past about finding ways to pull some rabbits out of the hat. They're going to have a rough time finding any rabbits this year," said Grey.
 
The $7 million budget proposal cuts funding to outside agencies.

The Massena Humane Society would take a $6,000 hit.

The public library would cut requested salaries by $35,000 and eliminate two vacant jobs, while funding for the Chamber of Commerce would also be reduced from $10,000 to $9,000.

Gray says depleted fund balances, lost sources of revenue and past zero increase budgets all contributed to the double digit tax increase and spending cuts.

He says the town is also being held captive by the state's refusal to release gaming compact monies it is owed:
 
If the spending plan is adopted as is, it would mean average property owners with a home assessed at $90,000 would pay an extra $100 in their town tax.
 
Taxpayers we spoke with had mixed feelings on a possible double-digit tax increase.

"Older people especially are faced with - do they keep their homes? Do they sell their homes because they can't pay the taxes," said concerned citizen Robin Beeson.

"We have enough taxes right now and I think it's putting a buren on people," said another concerned resident, Miriam Ralston.
 
The first of several budget workshops will be held October 10 before the budget's adoption in November.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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