Seneca County Sales Tax Proposal

Seneca County is working on a proposal to get a cost/benefit ratio that will allow revenue from the Seneca County Logo Resort and Casino to be distributed throughout the entire county.

The following is information from a resolution regarding the revenue:

The New York State Gaming Commission has awarded the right to develop a gaming casino project to Wilmorite Inc, in Northern Seneca County in the town of Tyre. A benefit/cost analysis prepared by Shepstone Management Company for the Seneca County IDA has indicated that that the benefit/cost ratio conservatively puts the benefit at $1,863,378,791 compared to a cost of $36,037,022 (or 51.71 B/C ratio.)

Benefits will include an increase in estimated gaming revenue taxes from gambling, increase in revenue from tourists trade including tax from hotel room tax (three percent), increase in property taxes for both the value of the casino and other construction, increase in mortgage tax in the county, increase in sales tax from both the materials to build and operate the casino and increase in wages both during construction and during operation of the casino (which will also will increase sales tax for household items).

As the analysis points out many of the new hired will be from current unemployed and under employed in this depressed county.

These benefits are offset by additional costs to government such as fire, police, emergency services, effect on municipal roads, schools and other municipal regulated services. The costs and benefits will not be distributed evenly through Seneca County. The southern end of the county, which is the more depressed area of the county will not receive as large an impact as the northern areas in terms of increase in property tax, room tax, sales tax and employee benefits.

In order to smooth out the geographic benefits, many of the counties in New York State (42 of the 52 upstate counties) have devised some method to fairly split sales tax revenue in their county.

It is proposed that Seneca County adopt the following to distribute the County share of sales tax revenue beginning in 2016 and beyond:

  • 1. The amount of sales tax revenue that Seneca County received in the tax year 2014 will be considered the base year. Any excess in subsequent years of sales tax revenue over the base year will be considered the new tax revenue

    2. Beginning in the tax year 2016, the Seneca County government will retain 100 percent of the base year amount of sales tax and 50 percent of any new tax revenue.

    3. Beginning in the tax year 2016 the other half (50%) of the new sales tax revenue will be distributed as follows:

    • 25 percent will be distributed to the 10 towns that make up Seneca County. This distribution will be based on a formula similar to the weighted voting formula used on the county board,

      15 percent will be distributed to the four school districts that are wholly contained in Seneca County (Romulus, South Seneca, Waterloo and Seneca Falls). This distribution shall be based on Enrollment from October 1 of the previous year.

      10 percent will be distributed to the four villages in Seneca County (Interlaken, Lodi, Waterloo and Ovid) based on the population as shown by the United States Census.

      The sales tax revenue will be presented by the county to each municipal on a quarterly basis. Towns, schools and villages shall by permitted to use these funds for bond payments, municipal repairs and/ or municipal costs as determined by their municipal budget.


by Chuck Bosman
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