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Tax District dropped for townwide plan to fix drainage

Guilderland GOP robo-calls McKownville residents, supervisor says change not political

— The Guilderland Town Board is backpedaling on a plan to establish a special taxing district in McKownville in a favor of a townwide fund aimed at fixing drainage issues across the board.

Residents of the hamlet notorious for its drainage issues had petitioned for the establishment of a taxing district, but a public hearing on the matter scheduled for a Tuesday, May 7, Town Board meeting ended up being a moot point. Supervisor Ken Runion decided levying the new tax would be unfair because the town must tackle drainage issues throughout Guilderland.

Runion argued cuts in the town budget and increased sales tax revenues have helped fill town coffers, making infrastructure projects feasible.

“We have been doing a pretty good job finically here,” Runion said Friday, May 10. “Rather than create a storm drainage district for McKownville alone, we created a new line in the highway budget for stormwater improvements and repairs.”

The budget line approved by the Town Board will be $100,000 annually, with plans to grow the account each year through unspent funds to eventually help tackle a larger project, according to Runion. The town would have collected around $50,000 annually from residents of McKownville for projects in that hamlet through the proposed drainage district.

Runion pointed to a number of drainage issues across the town.

“We have townwide issues — McKownville is not an isolated area,” Runion said. “It would be unfair in my estimation to make them pay for their own and then have the town pay for all the other ones. It is either you do all of these drainage districts or you create a fund. … I felt the best thing to do was create this fund.”

Shortly before the board’s Tuesday meeting, robo-calls were made by the Guilderland Republican Committee urging hamlet residents to oppose the “drainage tax” at that night’s public hearing.

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