County sales tax plan not a crowd pleaser

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

— “The fact we are provided with monies is something that beneficial to the town,” Landry said. “The county is in a position where they just have to negotiate with the city.”

Also, he said towns could benefit from increased growth through Metroplex’s portion given locally.

The towns’ lack of bargaining power though is what frustrates Koetzle.

“The way it is set up in the state is just crazy,” Koetzle said. “The towns have no position, we have no formal role at the table.”

Towns and villages throughout the county will continue receive to the same revenue stream from Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, too. From the county’s current 4 percent sales tax, Metroplex directly receives 0.5 percent of the revenue generated. Thirty percent of that portion is given to towns and villages, with the remained retained by Metroplex to help fund economic development projects.

Last year, Metroplex distributed more than $3.3 million of sales tax revenue to municipalities, with Rotterdam at $1.1 million, Princetown at $80,000, Niskayuna at $815,00, Scotia at $289,000, Glenville at $814,000, Delanson at $14,250 and Duanesburg at $215,000. The city and county don’t receive funds directly from Metroplex.

County Legislature Minority Leader James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville, cast the sole dissenting vote against the agreement. He said towns have seen economic development, but the new agreement doesn’t reflect progress made in the suburbs.

“The lion’s share is clearly going to the county and yet an awful lot of this new sales tax revenue is coming from Rotterdam, Niskayuna and Glenville,” Buhrmaster said. “Nobody knew anything about it until they read about it in the paper.”

County Manager Kathleen Rooney pointed to the growth of mandated costs for the county from 1990 to 2012, saying they increased nearly $72 million and are estimated to total more than $100 million this year. Sales tax retained by the county increased almost $45 million over the same time period, with county set to retain nearly $59 million in taxes this year.

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