Advertisement
 
Friday, May 22, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

Highway tax a necessary evil

Saturday, October 27, 2012 - Updated: 7:30 PM

The good times apparently can't roll forever in the town of Amsterdam.

Town residents have enjoyed not paying any town tax for 22 years, but like most places in upstate New York, revenues are down and expenses are up. In response, Amsterdam town officials may have to implement a highway tax to make up the difference.

The tax itself isn't all that bad -- $7 per $1,000 of assessed property value, meaning a person with a $100,000 home would have to cough up $70. In theory, however, implementing it isn't all that desirable because residents already pay high county and school taxes, and the town would have to override the state's 2 percent cap on property tax increases. The new tax would be applied to the town's highway fund.

The town of Amsterdam is in a situation where it may be forced to put the tax in place. Without it, Supervisor Tom DiMezza says it would mean laying off three highway department employees, which would mean more delays for Amsterdam's 10-year road maintenance schedule, which is already two years behind.

Applying fund balance -- a tactic employed by many municipalities to stave off tax hikes for as long as possible -- isn't an option because town officials said there practically is none in the highway department budget. That leaves the town with one other avenue to counteract increasing costs: cutting services. We understand the town's reluctance to take that route, which may not yield much savings anyway.

It's rare that we would encourage any municipality to implement new taxes, but there may not be any other choice. Town officials acknowledged this week that the numbers could be juggled this year to avoid the tax, but it could hurt the town in the future if accounts start showing negative balances, which in turn would affect Amsterdam's bond rating and its ability to make payroll.

With the commercial boom on Route 30 and more housing developments planned, it's imperative that the town of Amsterdam is able to maintain its roads to handle increases in traffic. It's not just an appearance thing, it's also a safety issue.

It's remarkable that the town has been able to go for more than two decades without taxing its residents, and it's unfortunate that streak may have to come to an end.

We encourage town officials to take another look at the budget to see if there are any savings to be found to avoid implementing this new tax -- which should be a last resort for any municipality.

If it turns out that the new tax is unavoidable, at least it's a small price to pay to keep town government in operation. While it's not ideal, it would keep the town from implementing more taxes or drastically cutting services in the future.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Montgomery County Research Report

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Players' union asks to hold NFL's Goodell in contempt
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Voters approve school budgets
    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    The voice of a nation
    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Prom season: In a variety of ways, students inject their personalities into a most memorable night of their young lives
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Sawyer Fredericks' mom reflects on son's fame
    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    Letters to the editor
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    F-MCC celebrates its 50th commencement
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Four seek pair of seats on GASD school board
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

    Amsterdam Spring Fling makes a triumphant downtown return
    Monday, May 18, 2015

    Honoring the fallen: Two troopers who died in the line of duty are memorialized
    Saturday, May 16, 2015

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook