NORWICH – Last month, the City of Norwich Common Council approved a budget calling for a 5.85 percent tax increase. Now they are taking steps to hopefully keep yearly tax increases from becoming the norm.
At the work session on Tuesday, the council passed a resolution asking Governor Eliot Spitzer and members of the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass legislative changes that would help improve economic prosperity and financial stability of all of the cities across New York.
The New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) outlined the legislative changes needed to achieve these goals in a report titled, “Connecting the Dots: A Blueprint for Revitalizing Our Communities and Our State.”
“All through the state, property taxes are way out of line,” Mayor Joseph Maiurano said. “New York state needs to find ways to get taxes down, so businesses will come back in.”
NYCOM lists factors placing fiscal stress on municipalities, saying state aid remains under funded. In the early 1990’s state aid to municipalities was cut, and although it has been raised over the years, it is still not on par with where it was in 1989. The report also cites recent increases in pension and health insurance costs, state mandates, population decline and stagnant tax bases as reasons why municipalities in New York are in a critical position.
NYCOM made four recommendations for ways the state could relieve the burden placed on the taxpayers. First, they recommend that a profit-sharing program be instituted, putting state aid back at the 1989 level and adjusting for inflation. The group recommends that the aid grow at an amount that takes in to consideration the rising costs of providing essential services...