Oswego Council To Consider Property Tax Cap Plan

OSWEGO, NY – The Common Council will consider a resolution regarding a state property tax cap at its next meeting.

At this week’s Administrative Services Committee meeting, Mayor Randy Bateman provided councilors with information regarding the state’s plan.

The governor-elect and a large majority of state legislators have identified as their top legislative priority for 2011 the imposition of a cap on school and municipal property taxes.

The New York Conference of Mayors has been consistent in pointing out that state mandates are what artificially force higher local spending and therefore higher local property taxes, Mayor Bateman said.

“Put simply, you can’t cap what you can’t control,” he said.

In September NYCOM’s president appointed a mayoral task force on mandate relief.

The 20-member group has been deliberating and developing a series of policy recommendations that NYCOM strongly believes must be approved by the state legislature prior to the imposition of a tax cap, if such a tax cap is expected to work Bateman said.

The task force’s proposals will be released during the week of Dec. 13 and will focus on mandates that arbitrarily drive up workforce costs in cities and villages.

NYCOM has a sample resolution that it encouraged cities to enact as soon as possible, the mayor pointed out.

According to the proposed resolution: A property tax cap without repeal of costly state mandates will, by definition, lead to drastic cuts in essential local services and dramatic layoffs of municipal employees.

“The governor of the state of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the costs drivers that lead to higher property taxes in New York – including pension benefits, health insurance costs and the collective bargaining process – as the central element of any effort to provide overdue property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York,” the resolution concludes.

Copies of the resolutions adopted by local governments will be forwarded to the governor, majority and minority leaders in the senate, the speaker of the assembly and other state leaders.

The committee sent the request to the full council for its consideration.