Smithville braces for double digit tax hike

SMITHVILLE – A fiscal budget error approved by board members that made it into the mailboxes of taxpayers in the town of Smithville earlier in 2014 was the backdrop for a proposed local law that seeks to override the 2015 two percent tax cap which was set into motion in 2011.

The error – which set the 2014 tax levy of the small town of approximately 1,300 residents back nearly $60,000 – was due to a typographical mistake in the preparation of the town's budget. The document was reviewed by board members, adopted and certified before being passed on to the Chenango County tax commissioners office on November 25 and was then sent to the State Comptrollers office for recording.

“I know what you're thinking,” said Town Supervisor Fred J. Heisler Jr., “People hear that the town wants to breach the the two percent tax cap and everyone assumes that we want to just raise the taxes to some enormous amount, but that isn't what we're trying to do here,” he said.

The hearing held at the Smithville Community Center at 7:30 p.m., Thursday April 24 yielded little consolation to townspeople as Heisler pitched “Local Law 1 of 2014.”

Heisler conveyed to the people that there had been a recording error in billing taxes and insisted that, “We don't know who's responsible; it could have been a computer error or human error,” at which point he indicated that he is taking full responsibility for the problem.

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