St. Lawrence County lawmaker wants to reduce home heating costs

WWNY St. Lawrence County lawmaker wants to reduce home heating costs

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - The St. Lawrence County Legislature has a new chairman and he has an idea for reducing home heating costs for just about everyone.

In St. Lawrence County you pay sales tax on wood pellets and on natural gas, fuel oil, and other home heating fuels. The new chairman of the county legislature thinks that should change.

“I think home heating fuel is a necessity. And it’s something that you need...especially in this time in the pandemic with people now at home. Their heating bill is going to be very high,” said Bill Sheridan, St. Lawrence County Legislature chairman.

The state charges no sales tax on home heating fuels. Counties do so at their option – fewer than 20 do. Sheridan tried to do away with the tax during his last stint on the county legislature in the late 80s.

“It’s sad that some of these people are actually making decisions as to how high to turn their thermostat up versus having food on the table,” said Sheridan.

Locally people use natural gas, oil, propane, wood pellets, electricity and other fuels to heat their homes. All are taxed. Fuel vendors say customers would welcome the change.

“I believe if they cut the sales tax on it, it would help out a lot of people...They’d probably be happy. It would probably save them money. They might even be able to buy more bags if they had to,” said Erwin Bevins, Coakley Home & Hardware sales associate:

Sheridan was just voted chairman on Monday. He says the tax could be reduced in steps if county finances don’t allow it to be done right away.

Reducing the sales tax on home heating fuels isn’t Bill Sheridan’s only goal. He has others he’ll be bringing to the fore this year as well. And some are familiar ones.

One is to build on the solid financial situation the county now finds itself in. The other is to get a plan together on what to do with the old county jail building.

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