Essex County grappling with potential 30 percent tax hike

But Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava isn't buying the Horace Nye argument.

"I've never had anyone complain about paying for the nursing home," Scozzafava said.

Horace Nye costs about $4 million a year to run.

Palmer said the continued operation of the 100 bed facility all but assures at-least a 20 percent hike in taxes.

Even with a $3 million fund balance buy-down, county taxpayers face up to a 30 percent tax hike if significant cuts aren't made.

Essex County typically relies on about $21 million in sales tax to keep its two-dollar-per-thousand property tax rate at the lowest level in the state. But the most recent year's return fell $600,000 short of 2008 levels.

Officials said staffing reductions may be eminent and are considering adopting a retirement incentive program.

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