Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Hartford Tax Hike in NYM . . .

N.Y. Mills residents in New Hartford face 700% tax hike will be the story in Tomorrow AM's OD . . .

New York Mills residents don’t pay for New Hartford police service, and for years, town savings have been used to offset other town costs that the village residents do pay for. . . .

In 2004, the New York Mills Police Department added a fourth full-time officer, and the village requested that its residents become exempt from paying for New Hartford town police, Mowat said.

That was about the same time the town began using massive infusions from its main rainy day fund to balance its budget.

But the main general fund couldn’t be used to pay for the town’s $2.5 million police budget, because not all town residents used the service.

It could, however, be used for services such as clerk’s office activities, town legal fees and parks. That’s also the portion New York Mills residents’ taxes went toward.

Year after year, the majority of the portion of the budget that New York Mills residents contributed to was paid for out of town savings.

Now that the town has burned through almost all its savings, New York Mills residents are no longer shielded from the costs.

New York Mills Mayor Robert Maciol called the increase “very unfortunate.”

The OD makes it sound like the Town is carrying what should be the Village's burden. That is simply not true. In fact, with the addition of the 4th police officer in NYM, it was no longer legal for NH to continue to bill NYM residents for the Town's high-flying police department. [See Town Law §150]. The fourth officer was a good move on the part of the Village.

In so far as the impression is given that NYM residents have gotten away with something the last few years, it really is the other way around. Why should NYM residents, e.g., be paying for storm water management in the Woodberry Road area of NH? But they do.

What services do NYM residents in NH get from New Hartford that they do not already get from the Mills? Nada, niente, nicht, rien -- no matter how you say it: NOTHING. Anything available from NH is a duplication. All NYM residents get from NH is another governmental mouth to feed.

A few years ago some concerned residents wanted the Village to explore secession from both Towns and to form its own Town (if only to get away from paying for duplicate services). After a couple meetings with Town officials where about all the Towns could offer as justification for their taxes was to let the Village borrow pieces of equipment on occasion, the idea went away . . . perhaps after the Town's in-Village tax rate dropped.

Now that the Town plans to sock it to NYM, it may be the time to resurrect the idea of NYM becoming its own Town . . . Why should NYM pay NH for services NYM already provides to itself?


Greens and Beans said...

Another excellent post. What should be troubling to the village residents is the relative blasé responses and even silence from the Village governments who are being victimized for the Town government’s sins. One Town official did respond with a very low-keyed comment of . . . “New York Mills Mayor Robert Maciol (who) called the increase “very unfortunate.”


Are we missing something here? Where is the outrage from the Village government's elected officials? Where are the picket signs outside of the Town board Meeting sites? Why aren’t these elected Village Board Members (as well as the School Districts Board Members) addressing the Town Boards at their meetings to request for an explanation for this excessive tax hike? Why aren’t these Village and School elected officials asking the Town Boards to explain their shoddy finances and express their outrage over having the property owners foot the bill for their blatant disregard of the sanitary code? Why are they not having public polling done to gauge where their constituency is on this issue? Their inaction and silence is deafening! The Mayor’s response to this issue should have read: The Mayor is incensed with the entire situation and said “I am appalled at the Town of New Hartford for forsaking our Village residents who reside within the Town of New Hartford! I am calling an emergency meeting with all of the affected Village and School elected officials to seek a unified agreement seek approval for a total investigation in this matter at once!” But what was the Mayor’s only response? . . . “Very unfortunate.”

The Village and School Board officials don’t seem to have any difficulty erecting signage and conducting telephone solicitations when they are campaigning for election or reelection! This outrageous tax increase will be a massive financial burden on the New York Mills residents. Why are the Village and School Board Members being relatively silent? Do they not realize that basic economics teaches us that a taxing entity can only stress a community so much before it causes its collapse?

Anonymous said...

The tax message of" a taxing entity can only stress...." sure goes way beyond the Mills. And, if Mills taxpayers provide services for themselves, why in heaven's name have they not formed a different political entity or entered into some sort of contractural or legislative agreement with the Town to avoid what seems to now be developing? The mumbo jumbo municipal lines there and elsewhere around here make no sense to begin with. But, if NYM becomes a new town are we not just adding more municipalities when we have far too many?

Strikeslip said...

I agree that we have far too many municipalities around here -- but the problem is more just than number, but overlap. There is clear overlap and duplication between Town of NH and NYM, and because the Town is bigger and inclusive of the village, the Town can duplicate a Village service in the Town and force the Village to subsidize it (meaning that Town residents are not paying their true cost).

Look at the Village and Town libraries. NYM has a cute little library that is more like a reading room, but it serves its purpose and is easily accessible to Village residents. Because they have their own, NYM Villagers simply don't need the very costly NH Town Library -- and they have ready access to the Utica Public Library if they need a "full service" library -- which points to probably the most logical object of consolidation, but the public does not seem ready for that yet.

At the very least, we can start by prohibiting taxation for overlapping services -- Which is what a Town of NYM would do. That might make the Town of NH realize that outside of the Villages it does not have the population density to support a high level of services.

Greens and Beans said...

I rather fancy the notion of having the Village of New York Mills consider seceding from the Towns of Whitestown and New Hartford and becoming the Town of New York Mills. There is no apparent benefit from being members of these towns.

Anonymous said...

If only a section of NYM is in the Town of New Hartford and the duplications so obvious, where have those residents been for so long? Whose responsibilty is it that," ... the idea went away?" The residents must have been either happy with the status quo or too lax and uninterested to do something about it. In either event, crying like stuck pigs now is a bit closing the door afterish.And somehow blaming the Town of New Hartford for unfairness is a bit tilted.

Strikeslip said...

When the tax rate was dropped to 15 cents per thousand, it wasn't worth getting excited over. Now it will be more significant . . . and if the Town tries to pass part of its cost of repairing its sewers onto Village residents, who have to shoulder a much steeper per capita cost to repair the village sewers, it will become overwhelming.