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Mayor explains tax questions

To the Editor: In response to questions concerning the cost of living in Port Henry vs. Moriah we have established some interesting factual information thanks to our updated and computerized accounting system in the village office. The first fact is that the average taxable value of a house in the Port Henry area is 66k and that it also costs $200 to $400 more to live in Port Henry than Moriah. Why is this so? At first blush one thinks, perhaps, it is the cost of the services we give ourselves or that our efficiency is not up to par. Preliminary review of services rendered by Moriah vs. Port Henry personnel would suggest efficiency to be comparable. Given that the law dictates that a service rendered will be paid for by the people receiving the service, it would consequently make no difference who provides the service, assuming the village wishes to avail themselves of special village services. In actuality the special village services do not account for the higher village cost to the taxpayers. The village of Port Henry takes care of most of its own services and shares some services with the town at an arms length sharing arrangement that delineates and defines costs and this is good. However, the other services are paid out of a town general fund and road tax (check your town tax bill). Herein lies the worrisome place. You will note a tax rate of $4.28 for a general fund and $2.28 for a road fund. Costs here are not delineated or defined; they are in fact akin to a financial black hole. Be aware that the total taxable value in Port Henry is $45,000,000 and with a tax rate as shown on your bill, this equates to an annual payment to the town of $293,000 by the people of Port Henry. That we get this much service in return, is doubtful. So lets say that we get back in value 1/3 of the $293k paid in; this leaves almost $200k paid for nothing or, translated in the tax rate it would equal $4.28 per $1000 of taxable value. Now, back to the original question; why does it cost the average homeowner $200 to $400 a year more to live in the village than the town? One must only multiply the $4.28 per $1000 tax rate on your town bill times the average homes taxable value of $66k and (Bingo) it comes out just shy of $300. Thats why! Dr. Gary Cooke
Mayor, Port Henry

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