After a preliminary budget proposal indicated that Essex County would have to raise taxes 26-percent, county officials have now lowered the hike to 2.6 percent.
This week, Essex County supervisors crafted a proposed budget plan that substantially lowers the originally planned tax increases and keeps the budget under the tax cap for the county. Finance Committee Chair Town of Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava says a key factor is assurances that 2.8 million dollars from FEMA are forthcoming and can now be calculated in the budget.
Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas notes that securing the FEMA dollars does not rectify all the problems with the budget.
The Ways and Means Committee, at the same time, is requesting that Essex County double its request for permission from the state to increase its bed tax. Essex County has a 3-percent bed tax, and the new request would raise it to 5 percent. Committee Chair and Town of North Elba Supervisor Robi Politi voted against the idea.
Supervisor Chair Randy Douglas supports doubling the county request to increase the bed tax.
The NYS Legislature must approve any increase in the county bed tax. Essex County also has a request pending in the Legislature to increase its sales tax.