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Legislator Proposing Amending County Tax Law

A banner over the county seal recognizes Oswego County's 200th anniversary.

A banner over the county seal recognizes Oswego County's 200th anniversary.

OSWEGO, NY – County taxpayers have the option of paying their tax bill in two installments. However, if they do, they face a penalty.

Legislator Dan Farfaglia (D – 24th) is proposing amending the interest rate paid on property taxes that are paid in installments.

It’s something that he mentioned at the Government, Courts and Community Affairs Committee meeting back in November, he said.

“This is an initiative that I am advocating for in honor of (former Legislator) Doug Malone. He pushed for this option to be available to the people in Oswego County and it became a local law in late 1999. But, there was also a mandatory monthly interest rate on the second payment for those who split their payments in two. He worked to help fix it,” Farfaglia told Oswego County Today.

One of Malone’s proudest moments was his success in pushing a change to the tax code, allowing county taxpayers the option of splitting tax payments in two, Farfaglia said.

Taxpayers using that option were hit with a 1-percent interest charge, however.

That was unacceptable to Malone and he continued to fight to abolish it during his tenure on the county legislature.

“The way that it works is, if your total tax bill is $1,000, you make the first payment of $500 and then the other $500 five months later. Because of the interest rate, the taxpayer then would have to pay an additional $50 on top of that,” Farfaglia explained. “This proposal would address the matter of that penalty for taking advantage of the installment process.”

He is advocating to amend the Real Property Tax Law in relation to authorizing counties to establish their own lower interest rate on real property taxes paid in installments.

His plan would amend Section 924-a of the Real Property Tax Law by adding a new subdivision 3, to allow counties to establish their own interest rate to be paid in installments, which is less than the interest rate provided for in subdivision two of this section, or to maintain the interest rate stated in subdivision two.

“The law that Doug Malone advocated for only allows us to lower it. How low that interest rate can go, or to eliminate it altogether, that will be up to the Government, Courts and Community Affairs Committee and possibly the Finance Committee as well.” Farfaglia said.

The legislator checked with Debbie Mullanaex at Real Property Taxation a long time ago and she analyzed the proposal.

At the moment, even though splitting the payments in two instead of paying it at all at once has been an option since 2000, not everyone is aware of it and most don’t use it, Farfaglia pointed out.

“At the present time, the county is NOT making a ton of revenue off of this interest rate,” he said. “So it will have no noticeable impact on county finances, practically none.”

“We are at the beginning stages of the process at the moment and no one has offered any feedback yet. I am hoping that we can work together and arrive at a bi-partisan agreement in a timely manner,” he added.

9 Comments

  1. Now this is what a County Legislator is suppose to do. Save the taxpayers money instead of trying to find a way to get money out of the taxpayers pocket..Thank you Dan ….keep up the good work.

  2. There shouldn’t be an interest rate to begin with. The county should be satisfied that taxpayers are taking the initiative to pay their sky high taxes to begin with. In fact, the county should be offering discounts for on-time payment. Just another reason why people continue to leave New York State in droves. At least Dan is working to cut the common taxpayer some slack.

  3. No Frank, it will cost the taxpayers money in lost interest the money would make for the County. We all know this bill is coming every year. Shame on us if we don’t have all the money when it’s due.

  4. If you read the article, Mr. Farfaglia stated the County isn’t losing much revenue, as not many have used this payment option or know of it. Shame on you for thinking that everyones financial stability stays the same. Sometimes “life” happens …

  5. What we really need to do is lower are county tax rate then this would not be such an issue. There is no way we should be paying what we are.

  6. In Lee County Florida you receive a tax bill in November that is due in full in March. If you pay before you get an incremental discount for each month it’s paid in advance. So you start by being offered a savings immediately. More of a savings if you pay in November rather than January or February.

  7. Well Mike… The county shouldn’t be worried about the money they won’t make off interest. How much money is it if you look at your tax bill . Your staying that much interest is important to the huge budget that is exhausted. Give the people the chance to split the payment in two. If you don’t succeed to make the payments let them offer there hardship if not put the property on Forseen tax auction. How else do you change Oswego County Mike?

  8. How about increasing the rate for those who don’t make any payments at all? Increase the rate to 2 or 3 percent for those people, most of whom are the slumlords in Oswego and Fulton.

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