Tax Increases Voted Down by Village Board
Apr 30, 2014 06:55AM ● Published by Steven Jack
Oswego Village President Brain LeClercq Tuesday night was forced to break tie votes between trustees over raising the village’s sales tax and instituting a 4 cent per gallon gas tax. Both measures failed.
Village staff had recommended the tax increases to help pay for long-range capital improvement plans in town and to fix crumbling village streets. According to budget documents, the village could come up about $5 million short through 2018 in its road maintenance fund.
Trustees Tony Giles, Scott Volpe, Terry Michels (along with LeClercq) voted no to the increases. Michels had some sharp words for fellow trustees over what he said was their lack of effort to find other cost savings in the budget to help pay for village improvements.
“Before we pass any increase the general public should be aware that we have scoured the budget and exhausted our options,” Michels said. “I’m disappointed. I’ve suggested several cuts in a $29 million budget. No one else has suggested one cut. Not one cut.”
Trustees Pam Parr, Gail Johnson and Judy Sollinger voted yes for the increases. Parr responded to Michels, saying trustees need more time for considerations in the budget process.
“I didn’t have the time in two budget meetings,” she said. “This is a complicated budget. … It requires more time and thought.”
Giles said if trustees needed more time to discuss the budget, a special meeting could have been called.
Johnson said she supported the increases based on future needs.
“We have to look further down the road than 2015,” she said.
This year’s road projects will be paid for with $700,000 in reserve revenues within the budget’s motor fuel tax fund. Doing so will leave the village with a little more than $300,000 remaining in that fund, said Mark Horton, village finance director.
Though more revenues will flow into that fund throughout the year, the village has about $2.2 million shortfall for capital improvements in 2016.