Tompkins County Legislature frozen over Cuomo’s tax freeze

Jimmy Emerson, DVM/via flickr
May 7, 2014

Deliberations over the budget in the Tompkins County Legislature are frozen, thanks largely to Governor Cuomo’s property tax freeze. The legislature failed to produce the eight votes needed to set a proposed tax increase for next year.

County administrator Joe Mareane recommended increasing the tax levy by no more then 2.36 percent in 2015. That would allow the county to stay under Cuomo’s tax cap.

The budget committee approved Mareane’s proposal. Committee Chair James Dennis says every department in the county would face a 1 percent cut.

But five legislators want to make no cuts and proposed an increase of 3.25 percent.

Chairman Dennis has been with the legislature for 8 years and supports the lower increase. He asks why the legislators would want to start well above the cap.

“I mean that doesn’t make any sense to me. I think we have to give it a good effort to try to at least get the cap, start there at any rate and see where we end up,” says Dennis.

Dennis’ proposal got 7 out of the 8 votes needed to pass. He says he’ll be working on whipping up one more vote.

“Maybe I’ll be able to change some minds or do something. But I will make another attempt at it,” says Dennis. 

A public hearing and another vote on the lower levy increase is set for the legislature’s May 20th meeting.