Property Owners Can Benefit From Tax Credit If Municipalities Take Action

One of the integral parts of the newly approved state budget is a move to reduce property taxes. The tax credit plan benefits property owners when municipalities remain within the 2 percent tax cap for two years. This is an incentive to create a more efficient government. It may be just the kind of incentive we need in New York state to reign in high property taxes.

One of the major causes of high property taxes is the numerous layers of government that we face here in Chautauqua County and in other counties statewide. We have village governments within town governments, and multiple towns within the county. Each level of government has costs and they use their taxing jurisdiction to cover those costs. These costs are reflected on your property tax bill.

Only through sharing services, identifying and implementing efficiencies and reducing the layers of government will we be able to realize substantial changes in the way we, at the local level, control our own property tax destinies. Many municipalities do share services, and that’s a good thing. But we must go further. To create a community that has long-term viability for business growth and investment we must work toward lowering property taxes and lessening the hardship these onerous costs have placed on homeowners and business owners alike.

Residents and businesses should be working now with their local elected officials to talk about the real and substantive change toward merging local governments and working together in new ways that will reduce administrative and overhead costs for towns and villages. School districts can get on this bandwagon as well, looking at further ways to consolidate. We have some excellent examples already in Chautauqua County, with the Panama and Clymer districts sharing a superintendent and with Ripley paying tuition to Chautauqua Lake to provide high school students with more educational opportunities.

Tax credits for homeowners are available under this new budget. But our municipalities and school districts must continue to creatively seek cuts that can not only enhance our quality of life, but reduce the costs as well. The state is dangling a carrot before all of us. We need to go for it. We strongly encourage all taxpayers to get behind this plan. Make your voices heard at your village, town, city and county meetings and advocate for streamlining in a way that will structure these tax credits so that you and everyone in our community can benefit.

Health Insurance Informational Session For Sole Proprietors Is Wednesday

Even though the March 31 sign-up deadline has passed for this year, there are still plenty of questions surrounding health insurance options available to businesses and employees, now and in the year ahead, especially for sole proprietors. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center will help to address those questions during an open session on Wednesday. It will be held in Room 123 of the Carnahan Building at Jamestown Community College from 8:30-9:30 a.m.

The SBDC will discuss implications of the Affordable Care Act for businesses and employees, while the Chamber will address other options available through health insurance exchange programs. This event will be especially beneficial to small businesses or sole proprietorships. You can register by calling the SBDC at 338-1024, or feel free to walk in on the day of the event. There is no charge to attend.

Hanover Community Chamber Appreciation Luncheon Is April 30

The Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Member Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, April 30. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Colony Seafood and Steakhouse, 876 Main Road, Irving.

Kelly Borrello, Hanover Community Chamber President, will give a brief introduction and opening remarks. Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo will discuss economic development in the village. Craig Colburn, Director of Member Development, and Todd Tranum, president and CEO, will speak on the state of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.

All Hanover Community Chamber members are welcome to attend. The cost of the lunch is $15, with a choice of either smoked roasted salmon or grilled chicken caprese. To make reservations please call 366-6200 or sign up online at www.chautauquachamber.org. Reservations are appreciated ASAP.

Experience Chautauqua Networking Event Is May 9

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce helps to create opportunities for business people to network and reach out to new customers and markets. The next Experience Chautauqua Networking Event will do just that on Friday, May 9 at Shawbucks Press Room in Jamestown. This event is being held as a preview to National Train Day festivities the following day at the historic Gateway Train Station, right across the street.

Chamber members are welcome to attend this event, from 5-6:30 p.m., at the low pre-registered cost of just $10. It is sponsored by Blackstone NEY Ultrasonics, Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, Dahlstrom Roll Form, DFT Communications, the Jamestown Jammers, KeyBank, the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, UBS Financial Services, Univera Healthcare Southern Tier, VIE for Fitness, and Media One Group. Make your reservation online now or call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.