Johnstown residents upset over huge proposed tax increase

October 17, 2017 06:35 PM

JOHNSTOWN - How would you feel if your property taxes went up 100 percent? Johnstown is proposing the huge jump, putting significant stress on many families. So NewsChannel 13 wanted to know why such a large increase?

According to the latest budget sheet from the town bookkeeper, they've whittled down the proposed tax increase to around 90 percent. NewsChannel 13 talked to one town board member who says this proposed budget is the result of mismanagement, big purchases and ignoring the town's fund balance.

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In this Fulton County town of 7,000, property tax bills might be close to doubling if the proposed budget goes through.

Town Board Member Timothy Rizzo says there is no long-term financial planning here.

"This town has never had a written plan, is your major problem toward where taxation goes. Without that plan in the forecast, this budget that's being proposed, in my book, is garbage," he asserted.

Five years ago, the town was in a much better position, with $2 million fund balance, basically in savings. Current Town Supervisor Jack Wilson was the supervisor then. He left and each year, according to Rizzo, the town ran multi-hundred-thousand dollar deficits.

Last year, a town property owner paid around $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed value. That bill would be going up to $3.30 per $1,000 according to the latest figures.

The town bookkeeper says they've worked the tax rate down to about a 90-percent increase. Rizzo says it will be hard to cut too much more from it.

"It's just basic bones of operational costs that have accumulated and the majority of it is from debt. That salt barn, those tractors. They all compounded and all of a sudden, it's a bill. You have to pay the bill," Rizzo explained.

Rizzo says there are around 17 town employees. The other three town board members wouldn't go on camera. Supervisor Jack Wilson didn't return NewsChannel 13's calls.

The public can comment on this during a public hearing on November 6. The town board has to pass a budget by mid-November.


WNYT Staff

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