2013 tax time

Property taxes to go up in 18 Onondaga County towns under Joanie Mahoney's proposed 2013 budget

Published: Friday, September 14, 2012, 6:00 AM Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012, 9:41 AM
County Executive Joanie Mahoney will present her proposed 2013 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature this afternoon.

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Property taxes in 18 Onondaga County towns and one village would increase in 2013 under County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s proposed $1.25 billion budget even though the county’s tax levy would not change.

The biggest jump in property taxes would be in the town of Van Buren, where taxes on a house assessed at $100,000 would climb by $58.

Mahoney will present her spending plan to lawmakers at 2 p.m. today in the county Legislature chambers.

Mahoney’s proposed budget would raise total spending by 2.3 percent over this year’s $1.22 billion budget.

But Mahoney said the amount the county raises from property taxes would remain at $148 million next year under her proposed spending plan. Projected increases of $14 million in sales tax revenues and the use of $14.5 million from the county’s fund balance — its accumulated savings from previous years — will enable the county to avoid raising the property tax levy, she said.

The county expects to have an $83 million fund balance at the end of this year. Mahoney is proposing using $4.6 million of that to pay operating expenses next year and $9.9 million of it to pay for vehicle purchases and other one-time capital costs.

Her plan would result in an overall property tax rate of $5.55 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2013, a penny less than this year’s rate. That would result in an average county tax bill of $555 for a house assessed at $100,000, not including special district fees.

However, tax rates are different among the county’s towns and village because of the formula the county uses to share its sales tax revenues and the way each community uses those revenues.

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Some property owners in the county would see their county property tax bills rise next year and some will would see them shrink slightly because of changes in the county’s sales tax sharing formula approved three years ago.

Taxpayers in 19 communities would see their tax bills rise. Taxpayers in Geddes, 14 villages and the city of Syracuse would see them go down by a maximum of $3 on a home assessed at $100,000.

Such differences will not occur after 2013 because that is the last year the county will share its sales tax revenues with the towns and villages.

Mahoney said she will propose providing $6.5 million in aid to towns and villages that adopt her plan for limiting residential development to areas already served by sewers and other public infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Mahoney proposed a new county “sustainability” plan that discourages growth in areas where public infrastructure does not already exist. With flat population growth, the county can no longer afford the costs of suburban sprawl, she said. But support for her plan is not universal in the county Legislature, which has yet to vote on it.

Mahoney said she will propose spending 22 percent of the county’s room occupancy tax revenues — or $1.06 million — next year on arts groups. The money would go to CNY Arts, formerly known as the Cultural Resources Council, which would decide how to divide it up among the arts groups.

Among the groups Mahoney would like to see funded is a new symphony to replace the defunct Syracuse Symphony. Mahoney said she expects a new symphony to begin playing concerts this fall or winter. It is organizing under the name Musical Associates of CNY, but a new name will be announced in December, she said.

Mahoney said she also will ask the Legislature for $530,000 to design the extension of a sewer line into the White Pine business park in Clay, formerly called the Clay Business Park. The 335-acre park at the northeast corner of Route 31 and Caughdenoy Road has no businesses, but Mahoney said she believes it will attract tenants if the site is served by sewers. She will later ask the Legislature to spend $5 million out of sewer revenues to extend the line.

“I believe we’ve missed a couple of opportunities because it’s not shovel ready,” she said. “There are businesses that are very interested in the site. It’s a great site.”

Contact Rick Moriarty at rmoriarty@syracuse.com or (315) 470-3148.

Brooks Mone

Brooks Mone

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