Governor Cuomo signed into law the 2% property tax cap earlier this year. The goal--to bring relief to residents with high taxes. But if necessary, individual municipalities can override the cap. Ilion is one of those municipalities to do just that.
Mayor John Stephens says when it's time to review the village budget in the spring, it may be necessary to go over the 2% mark to keep the village running at its current level. "The governor is telling us how to run our municipalities," says Stephens, "He has no idea what we go through, our needs."
Stephens says the village board made the unanimous decision to override the tax cap Wednesday night at a board meeting. He says they won't necessarily go over 2 percent, but they can if they need to. He says most likely, if they aim for 2%, they'll have to make many cuts, which the village really can afford to do. The village also owes money to Herkimer County, another financial burden they're dealing with. Stephens says his goal is to keep the new rate under 5%. He says he agrees with the concept behind the tax cap, but not the execution.
For those who are against the decision, he says they don't necessarily have the knowledge about what goes on in the village on a daily basis. But Sally Manno has lived in Ilion her whole life, and doesn't see how having higher taxes is a positive move for the village. "I've been here since I was eight years old and I've seen Ilion go from a big, big booming town down to a few stores, with hardly anything," she says, "we've been taxed so much in so many other places, we can't afford it anymore, there's no jobs. There's just nothing. People are hurting right now they really are hurting."