In a 4-to-3 vote Thursday, June 12, the Colonie Town Board adopted a home-rule message to urge the New York State Legislature to pass a one-time corrective tax bill, which would average to about $155 per household in the town and around $135 per household in the villages of Colonie and Menands.
Town Supervisor Paula Mahan had originally speculated that the tax would come out to about $250 per household townwide. The vote was cast with opposition from the three Republican board members, who were certainly not in favor of this, according to board member Brian Hogan.
Hogan said he and the other two Republicans on the board — Nicole Criscione-Szesnat and Tom With — would rather continue examining costs that can be cut within the town instead of imposing the tax on residents.
`I would have loved to have seen us put a freeze on all non-essential new hires,` said Hogan regarding a proposal that was rejected by the board at the May 29 meeting.
Criscione-Szesnat said that she was not well informed about the one-time corrective tax, and called for a public hearing to be held to discuss figures involved in the tax.
`It seems like everything we read about this is through the press,` she said.
After the resolution was passed, Criscione-Szesnat rescinded her resolution to hold a future public hearing since, she said, it was too late.
The one-time corrective tax was originally proposed at a Town Board meeting on Thursday, April 10, in which time was allotted for public comment. At that meeting, CJ O’Rourke, a resident of Colonie, said that he supports the measure and that, `When Paula says it’s time to move forward, it really is.`
While Mahan said that she had received overwhelming support from residents for the one-time corrective tax via e-mail, mail and phone calls over the past weeks, other board members said they had received input as well.
Democratic Board Member Bob Becker said that he has seen a lot of `forthrightness` from residents on the issue.
`I have had no person come forward and say that they don’t support this issue,` he said.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Hogan said he has received lots of negative feedback about the tax.
Whether for or against, board members indicated that residents are aware of the tax and what it means for the people of Colonie.
According to Mahan, information has been readily available for all members of the board to examine and inquire about.
Last week, some residents of villages within the town brought up concerns about paying the same amount as taxpayers in the town because the town services they use are limited.
`We met with the villages because they had some concerns,` said Mahan. She said that village residents would be paying a lower rate as a result of those discussions.
Residents with a higher assessed property values would be paying more, according to the one-time corrective tax bill, which was introduced in both the Senate and the Assembly (S.8496/A.11562) Wednesday, June 11. The maximum tax for a town parcel will not exceed $500 for residences and could be capped at $7,500 per parcel for commercial property assessed between $4,565,000 and $49,999,999.99, and $15,000 for a commercial property assessed at $49,999,999.99 or higher.
In percentages, that means that the residents in the Town of Colonie would have a tax levy of $1.273 per thousand of taxable assessed value; $1.152 for residents in the Village of Menands and the Village of Colonie; $1.64 for commercial property in the Town of Colonie; and $1.363 for commercial property in the villages.
The bill, which would mandate residents and commercial property owners to pay the tax, was referred to the Ways and Means Committee in the New York State Legislature on Thursday, June 12.
Mahan said, should the bill become law, the town will hopefully receive the funds in October, or worst-case scenario, January, totaling an expected $7.5 million.
State Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Newtonville, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly said that there are `tons of bills on the table,` to be voted on before the final day of session, Monday, June 23. Reilly said he urged the Town of Colonie to file a home-rule message to the Legislature.
He is hoping that, with the home-rule message, the process for moving the bill into law will be quicker.“