Changes to Chemung County Sales Tax

Written By: Kellie Meyer
Changes to Chemung County Sales Tax

August 19, 2013

ELMIRA -- (WENY) New changes to sales tax in Chemung County. Chemung County would keep a bigger share of sales tax generated in the county while municipalities would get less.
    Right now the county splits sales tax 50/50 with municipalities. With the new plan revealed last night at the Chemung County Legislature meeting, county gets 2/3, municipalities get 1/3.
     Santulli proposed the change because sales tax dollars in the first half of 2013 plunged $1.9 million and are on track for a $6.5 million shortfall this year. He says municipalities can afford it because they all have hefty reserves built on their past share of sales taxes. 
    "We're going to fix a problem before it becomes a disaster," Santulli said.
Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli continued work on his county restructuring plan. Presenting his changes to the sales tax distribution formula to a packed house at the legislature meeting. He's saying something has to be done.
     "Yes we're going to change the formula, if we get sales tax growth of 3 and a half percent most people would be made whole, at least 2014 levels," said Santulli.
     He showed his outline for the sales tax formula change from 2014 to 2018.
He added, "the answer to this is not, let's go out and start taxing people, because you know what we don't have enough money to run the operation. You have the change with the times, you have to change how you operate with your revenues and that was my point tonight."
     What can these towns and villages expect?
     Mayor Donald Zeigler, Mayor of Horseheads said, "we will receive considerably less sales tax through a five year period. Hopefully sales tax will come back up. Right now we have to look at changes we will be talking." 
     Santulli said the county and municipalities need to work together to make this happen. Government officials hearing the presentation felt the same.
     "It's time for municipalities to start looking at their strengths and weaknesses and we need to start sitting down and examining our weaknesses and learning how to come together to examine those problems," said Mayor Sue Skidmore, Mayor of the City of Elmira.
     Zeigler added, "I look at this as an opportunty to move government into a business mind and look towards saving some money blending some services. I know the county is looking to make changes and be
part of this and that's crucial because their thinking has to change also."
     On the second Monday of September, legislature will vote on this plan.