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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Louisville board supports home rule, but not unanimously


LOUISVILLE - By a vote of 4-1 the town board has adopted a resolution supporting the county’s efforts to get home rule, which would allow them to increase the sales without legislative approval at the state level.

Voting in favor of the resolution were Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault, as well as town board members Patrick D. Carroll, M. Gail Schneider and Daniel O’Keefe.

Councilman Roy A. “Slim” Beshaw opposed the move.

“A lot of people have said they’re afraid the county is just going to spend the money,” he said, adding he also feels that way.

“I think the county will still spend this money and hit us with double digits,” he said, referring to this year’s 13.5 percent tax rate hike. “All of the things they have been cutting would be back on the table.”

Mr. Legault said he’s not sure if that would happen, but if the county were able to increase the sales tax 1 percent that would generate an additional $13 million to $14 million and revenue and make the legislature a lot more accountable for its budget proposals.

“At least we could hold them accountable and say, ‘You told us if you got this money you would keep taxes down,’” Mr. Legault said.

Ms. Schneider agreed, “If you don’t like what they’re doing then vote them out.”

Mr. Beshaw said another problem he has with the county rasing the sales tax is its intention to keep the additional revenue for themselves.

“They’re going to keep this money. They’re not going to give any of that to the towns,” he said.

And while Mr. O’Keefe supported the resolution, he said he would like to see the town get at least a portion of the increased revenues, something that he doesn’t believe will happen.

Mr. O’Keefe said he spoke recently with Legislator Jonathan Putney, who represents Louisville on the county legislature, and Mr. Putney made it clear the county was not planning to share the additional revenue.

Even if they don’t share the additional money, Mr. Legault said the money would help the county alleviate its fiscal problems and spread the burden out among the entire population, including college students and tourists.

“I would rather see it spread out than placed solely on the backs of the property taxpayers,” he said.

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