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October 20, 2011 - 11:01pm

Post introduces 'protest' measure to send message to Albany about tax cap

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, taxes.

Greg Post, supervisor for the Town of Batavia, which currently has no town property tax, is tempted to announce a 50-percent increase in the tax levy.

For those who haven't done that kind of ciphering in a few years, 0 x 50 percent = 0.

But Post is rather irritated with Albany and the state legislature's passage of a 2-percent cap on property taxes without corresponding mandate relief.

Mandates include increases in health care costs for employees, an increase in power rates without local input, and an increase in pension benefits.

Meanwhile, many local governments are facing problems with aging infrastructure -- infrastructure that needs to be in good repair to attract jobs and retain businesses and help emergency responders get to where they need to go.

Albany, Post, said, should just butt out of local government.

"I’m perfectly capable, as is my board, of making decisions," Post said. "Whether they’re good decisions or not can be judged by the community. The community can show up here at public hearings and voice their concerns and if they don't like our decisions they can vote us out of office."

For the most part, Post said, the small towns and villages of Upstate New York are fiscally conservative and do a good job of holding down expenses. Albany, he said, has no idea how to run a town in Western New York and shouldn't even try.

But some towns have put off infrastructure repairs and their needs are getting critical.

He said he knew of one town that wanted to raise its tax levy 20 percent, which would have meant only a $20 increase in the average property tax bill.

But because of the tax cap, the board is faced with a tough decision -- take a special vote to override the cap, or not go out and get the revenue it needs for the town to survive.

Post sees the levy as a trap laid by Democrats in Albany to force conservatives in small towns in Upstate New York out of office. 

Uninformed voters, he said, will likely vote out of office any official who votes to override the cap, and they will be replaced by less fiscally responsible, less experienced officials.

That's why, he said, he introduced a local law for the Town of Batavia to override the cap. Even though Post has no intention of allowing a tax increase to go through, passage of an override measure is a protest against the heavy-handedness of Albany.

He hopes it will provide cover for those jurisdictions that really do need to override the cap.

He said he plans to introduce the same measure every year that he's in office so long as Albany refuses to pass meaningful mandate relief.

On Wednesday, the town board unanimously approved a public hearing on the proposed local law. The hearing is set for Nov. 9.

Kyle Couchman
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Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 25 2009 - 8:54am

Is it me or does it seem this is just more political games. Protesting by raising taxes 50% which is really not a hike at all. Isnt there some important local business or issues to attend to first? I mean I understand the concept but to me it' s like a kid sticking his tongue out and making a face across the playground at another.

Mark Potwora
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Last seen: 5 months 5 hours ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm

Kyle i agree..Hancock head of the county legislator did some what of the same stunt with her vote to pay money owned the state..Will our taxes go down if they get this mandate relief they want...The town of Batavia pays no tax so what does Mr.Post prove...He said He hopes it will provide cover for those jurisdictions that really do need to override the cap...Thanks Mr.Post for allowing others cover to raise my taxes..Also what about the new scam with the county wanting to add 5 dollars a year to vehicle registration...

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