Speaking at a Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees meeting Monday night, Tim Burpoe said the county clerk had recommended a $5-$10 increase in vehicle registration fees.
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Burpoe says Franklin County – like most local governments – is facing a budget crunch as it prepares its fiscal plan for 2012.
“We have nine mandates that are probably costing us $3 million more than we were anticipating,” he said. “So we’re probably in or around a 30 to 40 percent increase to the tax levy and that’s a reduction from what we originally started with – somewhere around 76 percent. We’re going to work until we get to the deadline for the tentative budget to be filed, which is Oct. 1. But we’re looking for new revenue sources.”
In order to raise property taxes, the legislature would have to vote 60% in favor of overriding the recently-imposed 2% property tax cap. Burpoe says the proposed increase to DMV registration fees will raise about $300,000 annually, reducing the tax levy by 2.1 percent.
“Yeah, it’s going to be an additional fee and it’s going to cost people every other year $10 or $20 depending on whether it’s a commercial or noncommercial vehicle,” he said. “We can either do it in a fee, or we can do it on the tax levy.”
Burpoe and his fellow county lawmakers say they want to hear from taxpayers tonight to get a sense of which direction they should take to trim the budget.
Taxpayers can also write Burpoe and other legislators.
Hearings are set for 6 o’clock, at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake and the County Courthouse in Malone.