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Schenectady County overrides tax cap

Public pleads against
7.5 percent tax hike, legislators blame mandates

Schenectady County Legislator Thomas Constantine, D-Niskayuna, voted against overriding the state imposed property tax cap. He was one of two Democratic legislators opposing the resolution.

Schenectady County Legislator Thomas Constantine, D-Niskayuna, voted against overriding the state imposed property tax cap. He was one of two Democratic legislators opposing the resolution. Photo by John Purcell.

— Niskayuna resident Don Cazer said he was “shocked” to find out the legislature was looking to exceed the tax cap.

“We should support the leadership from Cuomo to try to make our state more competitive,” Cazer said. “I live on a pension and social security and in Niskayuna and my school tax, town tax and county tax is $1,000 a month and I cannot afford that.”

He said he might move to Saratoga County to avoid local taxes and get relief.

There were some people supporting an override of the tax cap, so services wouldn’t be diminished to nonprofit organizations and the most needy residents.

Niskayuna resident Ann DiSarro, who’s worked for nearly 40 years serving elderly residents, urged legislators to not diminish established services. She applauded legislators for being “a model in the state” for providing services for elderly residents.

“The needs of the community are greater than they have ever been,” DiSarro said. “This is not the time to abandon what you got in place.”

She said even eliminating one position can have drastic affects to services, because staff members already are stretched thin and do more than one job’s tasks.

Brian McGarry, former Republican candidate for Rotterdam Town Supervisor and Duanesburg schoolteacher, said some residents wouldn’t stick around if taxes were raised.

“They won’t simply sit here and take it,” McGarry said. “Do not override the property tax cap, please.”

Larry DeAngelus, Schenectady resident and real estate attorney, echoed McGarry’s remarks.

“Most of the friends I have made over the past few years through my daughters being in school and I meet parents, they are gone, they fled,” DeAngelus said, “and they think I am a fool for sticking around and sometimes I think they are right.”

Terresa Bakner, president of the Board of Directors of Cornell Cooperative Extension, said not letting down “a segment of our population down” is equally important to people’s concerns on taxes tightening their wallets.

The Rev. Joe Roof, a Schenectady resident and father of four, said residents in Schenectady County are taxed “beyond the max.” He said most residents couldn’t afford a tax increase exceeding the state mandated cap.

“The reality is although the taxes get raised we have the same problem every cycle,” Roof said. “Do not raise taxes at all.”

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