Schuyler legislators take step toward bypassing tax cap

WATKINS GLEN, Oct. 10 -- The Schuyler County Legislature, during an often contentious monthly meeting Tuesday night -- approved by a 7-1 margin a Local Law that would, if approved following a public hearing next month, allow it to bypass the state tax cap.

Legislators, with only Barb Halpin opposed among them, thus took a first step toward an action that Chairman Dennis Fagan says they want the county's eight towns to adopt, as well.

Legislator Barbara Halpin was outspoken against bypassing the tax cap, saying it would only give the Legislature "the ability to not make the tough decisions." Referring to a county cap level of 4% -- a figure that County Administrator Tim O'Hearn later told a reporter was 3.38% -- Halpin said: "We are actually allowed a 4% increase anyway, so why we want to do this is beyond me. Somehow we have to find a way to cut spending. (But) I'm sure (the Local Law) will get passed and you'll probably see your tax levy go up more than 4%."

O'Hearn was scheduled to take the next step in the process this morning (Wednesday) when he presented his budget proposal to legislators at a meeting of the group's Management and Finance Committee.

O'Hearn said Tuesday night that the county faces a shortfall of $2 million in the new budget. He has said the tax levy hike in his proposal would be in the "double digits."

The Odessa File 2012
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869