Busti’s Decision Could Impact STAR Rebate

To The Reader’s Forum:

Never mind the fact that many Town of Busti residents are taxed by 6 distinct taxing entities (federal, state, county, town, village and school district), and deserve relief wherever they can get it (like putting commercial businesses into vacant buildings). And never mind the deliberate arrogance of an elected official essentially suing his constituents who have gone to the trouble to use the law and their rights to voice concerns over government actions (who’s paying those legal fees by the way?). There is another consideration for the town to delay purchasing anything any time soon (specifically not commercial-ready property taken from tax rolls). It’s called the New York State Property Tax Freeze Program. The summary of the program reads like this, according to www.nytowns.org:

Year One: STAR-eligible residential homeowners who live in a taxing jurisdiction that levied at or below the tax cap will receive a check from the state in the greater amount of (a) their property tax increase over the previous year, or (b) the amount of their property tax multiplied by the Allowable Levy Growth Factor, minus one.

Year Two: Must meet all of the requirements of year 1, but the taxing jurisdictions must participate in either a joint or solo “Government Efficiency Plan” that will be expected to achieve certain savings.

In other words, if one of your municipal entities taxes you over 2 percent (or an accepted calculation of the tax maximum), you don’t get your refund in year one. By buying commercial property the Town of Busti is essentially raising your taxes by that purchase price, and limiting their ability to garner more taxes from that property in the future. By the way, this is a good reason not to let your municipalities vote to raise their tax limits above the mandated 2 percent every year.

In year two you get a refund check in the mail if your taxing entity adheres to the tax limit and develops a “Government Efficiency Plan” that shows a budgetary savings of at least 1 percent. Such a plan could involve shared services with other municipalities. Something like sharing building space would be a valid start to such a plan, and again give residents the opportunity to get the refund from the state.

I sincerely hope the town of Busti does not plan to tax us over the limit this year and eliminate our opportunity at a state rebate check, and that they have a plan to keep our taxes under limit and start to develop an efficiency plan for next year to submit to the state.

Bill Burk

Lakewood