Getting their first look at the 2014 proposed budget, many residents in St. Lawrence County were left smiling. As our Barry Wygel explains, a sales tax increase means a major property tax decrease.
CANTON, N.Y. -- With a one percent sales tax increase set to go into effect December 1st, St. Lawrence County legislators had promised residents a substantial decrease in property taxes, a promise it looks like they will be able to keep.
"We do have our 14.3 percent tax decrease as promised," said Fred Morrill, chair of the finance committee.
Due to shrinking revenues, last year legislators were forced to raise property taxes by that same amount, even while cutting services.
"There are no layoffs. There are no service cuts," said Morrill.
Some departments whose budgets got slashed last year will not see full restoration of the money, but legislators say they will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
"I think some of them have learned to live with that," said Morrill.
Always looking ahead, Morrill says the future looks bright.
"I think it looks good. I think we are on our way to much better fiscal solvency," said Morrill.
Other elected officials agree. State Senator Patty Ritchie was instrumental in getting the sales tax increase passed. Initially against the proposal, she agreed to sponsor the legislation only if it would result in a property tax decrease. She said in a statement late Monday
"I am hopeful that the county will continue to not only deliver on its promises, but also continue to cut costs and hold the line on spending," said Sen. Patty Ritchie.
Over the coming weeks legislators will be hammering out the details of the budget, but they do not expect the bottom line to change.