Ti supervisor leery of proposed sales tax

TICONDEROGA What impact will a proposed Essex County sales tax increase have on Ticonderoga? Thats what Ti Supervisor Bob Dedrick wants to know. A 1/2 percent increase in the county sales tax from 7.75 to 8.25 percent, has been proposed by North Elba Supervisor Robert Politi. Politi wants 1/4 percent of the proposed tax to go to the county and 1/4 percent to go to each town in the county. County Treasurer Michael Diskin has estimated a 1/4 percent increase could bring in an additional $1.5 million in revenue for the county. That same amount would be distributed among the towns and villages under Politis plan. Ticonderogas share would be about $81,000, Dedrick said. Its a Catch-22, Dedrick said of the proposal. I dont want to see another 1/2 percent (sales tax increase), but I would like to get some money. Its a tough call. Thats why Dedrick asked the Ti town board to gather information. He urged trustees to talk to constituents about the issue and to be prepared to make a decision. Dedrick said he will rely on the town board to direct him on how to cast his vote on the issue at the Essex County of Supervisors. Its going to be a tough, he said. Im not going to decide this myself. The supervisor said he will ask for a town board resolution directing him how to vote. Several Ticonderoga businesses, particularly car dealerships, have expressed concern about the proposed sales tax hike, Dedrick said. If you go to Wal-Mart and spend $100 youre going to pay an extra 50 cents in sales tax, Dedrick noted. But if you buy a car, youre talking about a substantial extra tax. Ticonderoga has the second-most votes because of its population in the countys weighed voting system. How Ti votes will be key in the future of the sales tax proposal. At a meeting of the boards finance committee in August Politi presented his proposal. Noting numerous program cuts expected at the state level, including a proposed $169 million statewide cut directed at nursing homes, Politi suggested seeking more revenue to maintain local programs. Politi and sales tax supporters point out sales tax is spread out to all county residents and visitors, unlike property tax. He noted estimates from the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau show roughly 70 percent of sales tax revenue comes from people visiting from outside the county. According to Diskin, the sales tax rate in Essex County is 7.75 percent with 3.75 percent staying in the county. The last sales tax increase was in September 2004 with an increase of 3/4 percent. Matt Bosley contributed to this report.

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