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MONTICELLO, NY — There are 15 towns in Sullivan County, and, for the last three years, the town supervisors have been trying to get the Sullivan County Legislature to share the county sales tax revenue with the towns. That is the arrangement that most other counties have with their towns in New York State, but, so far, the county legislators in Sullivan have resisted the invitation to share.
Tom Bose, supervisor of the Town of Callicoon, and representing the Sullivan County Association of Town Supervisors, turned out to the monthly county meeting at the government center on February 21, to suggest another way for the county to share. At a meeting with Dan Sturm, the president of the association of supervisors, the county manager and himself, Bose spoke of a new proposal. Instead of sharing sales tax, which would require state legislation, perhaps the legislators would be interested in sharing “impact mitigation money” from the casino.
Bose noted that many of the towns budgets are going to come up short this year because Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed eliminating the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program funding for many towns. Cuomo has suggested that counties make up the resulting shortfall in town budgets with funding raised by taxing internet sales in the state, but it’s not clear how the final budget legislation will turn out.
Bose said that if the county did not replace the AIM dollars, and if the county did not share revenue in some other way with the towns, most of the towns would have to raise taxes in excess of the Albany-mandated property tax cap, and town residents would lose the tax rebates they are entitled to when local governments operate within the tax cap.
He noted that the increase in the county sales tax revenue, in the neighborhood of 7%, was the highest in the state in 2018, and the county is in good shape in terms of revenue.
Bose asked the lawmakers if sharing the mitigation money could be possible.
When county chair Luis Alvarez asked if any legislator care to comment, none took the opportunity to do so.