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July 2, 2013

DMV fee for Essex Co. run over

(Continued)

SALES TAX MIGHT HELP

Supervisor Charles Harrington (R-Crown Point) noted the State Legislature recently approved a one-quarter percent sales-tax hike for the county, which will raise about $2 million. So they might not need the $150,000 the vehicle fee is predicted to generate, he said.

The sales-tax hike is awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

“Do you believe the budget for next year is going to exceed a $2 million increase?” Harrington said.

“It’s too premature to say: We’ll get this; we won’t get that,” Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) told him.

Harrington said that, in that case, they should postpone the DMV fee until they know.

CHANGED POSITION

One supervisor who was previously an ardent supporter of the vehicle fee now opposes it.

“I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that a tax is a tax,” Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) revealed. “I especially heard from small businesses and farmers.”

The money from the fee was supposed to go for road maintenance, Scozzafava said, so he’d support it only if the county property-tax levy were reduced by an equal amount.

“This is just going to be more money we end up spending without reducing anything.”

VOTE TALLY

Only six out of 17 supervisors present for the vote endorsed the vehicle fee. Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) had stepped out of the room to take an important call.

Voting yes were Douglas, Preston, Blades, Charles Whitson Jr. (R-St. Armand), William Ferebee (R-Keene) and Roby Politi (R-North Elba).

By the county’s simple majority weighted-vote system, which is used when finances are involved, the tally was 1,706 opposed and 1,150 in favor. At least 1,461 weighted votes were necessary for passage.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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