County sales tax plan not a crowd pleaser

Distribution to suburbs remains flat as city’s increases $600k

— A new agreement sets how county collected sales tax will be distributed for the next eight years, but some local officials say towns aren’t getting a fair cut.

The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday, Sept. 11, approved a sales tax distribution agreement for the start of this December to Nov. 30, 2020. The Schenectady City Council approved the agreement the previous Monday.

Democratic legislators touted the plan as beneficial for all municipalities in the county.

“We are able to keep the county whole, help the city and continue to help the towns as we have been,” Deputy Chairman Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, said. “The stability factor here is very important.”

The agreement grants an increase for the city totaling $600,000, to a total of $11.7 million annually. An additional $100,000 will also be distributed to Capital Resource Corporation or the Industrial Development Agency to be used for community redevelopment and demolition of structures, or any other purpose city officials see fit.

Towns will continue to receive a total distribution of about $7.8 million annually, which is to be proportionately split up between each municipality based on real property value. The local proportions will be based on this year’s taxable value and will remain fixed throughout the agreement.

Glenville Supervisor Christopher Koetzle scolded the county legislature for approving the agreement.

“To hold your revenue flat for 12 years is immoral,” Koetzle said. “It is a horrible deal for the towns. … They are leaving all the towns to fend for themselves.”

Rotterdam Supervisor Harry Buffardi, on the other hand, said town officials thought the formula for distribution was “fair and equitable” and was in favor of it.

Niskayuna Supervisor Joe Landry said because towns are not in bargaining process, according to state law, the towns will benefit from continuing to receive the same revenue stream. He said the county could pull funds distributed to towns since there is no legal right requiring it.

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