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Essex County votes for potential override of tax levy cap

— Members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors have given themselves the green light for a tax levy increase above the state cap of two percent.

The board voted at its Dec. 2 regular meeting to override the New York State tax levy cap which County Manager Daniel Palmer said calculated to just over two percent for the 2014 spending plan.

Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston was the lone supervisor to vote against the override, while Essex Supervisor Sharon Boisen and Newcomb Supervisor George Canon were excused.

“When we started with a nine percent increase we could have gotten to the cap but it would have been painful,” Preston said. “In my opinion, we could have gotten there. Everything Dan (Palmer) said (at the budget public hearing) was 100 percent correct, what we do not agree on is how we are going to get there.”

The board held a public hearing on the proposed local law overriding the cap 45 minutes before the regular meeting with no public comment.

Supervisors then had their chance to weigh in on the issue.

“I do not see where we have a choice the way our fund balance has been dwindling down,” Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said.

“What this is just authorizes the board to override the cap if that situation occurs,” Moriah Supervisor and budget liaison Tom Scozzafava said. “This does not mean we are doing that. The final decision will be made whence vote on the budget.”

“Before Dan (Palmers) budget presentation I was going to vote no but after hearing what he said and looking at everything I do not see how we cannot do this,” Westport Supervisor Dan Connell said.

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