It took the sight of an updated tax map to really appreciate the villages property tax situation.
During the past decade, the amount of tax-exempt property within the village has climbed to 65 percent, according to a tax map prepared by the St. Lawrence County Office of Real Property.
That means the owners of 35 percent of the villages total assessed property are responsible for 100 percent of village taxes. The burden primarily falls on homeowners and businesses.
I think its an eye opening experience for village trustees, Mrs. Noble said. When you see the map, it really makes an impression.
The situation is similar in the neighboring village of Potsdam where 67 percent of village property is tax exempt, said Darren W. Colton, director of St. Lawrence Countys Real Property Tax Office.
The two villages are similar, especially both having two colleges, Mr. Colton said.
Canton Mayor David P. Curry said village trustees will be looking at this type of data as they craft next years village budget.
I dont think people realize the amount of tax exempt property we have in the village, Mr. Curry said. We have a lot of buildings on Main Street that paid taxes for years, but are now tax exempt.
Trustees are scheduled to hold their first budget workshop 4 p.m. today in the municipal building, 60 Main St.
In 2003 the amount of tax exempt property in the village was 54 percent, with the figure slowly inching upward for most of the past 10 years. It first reached 65 percent in 2011 and has stayed there for 2012 and 2013.
New tax-exempt properties over the past several years include the new St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility and new building projects at SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University.
Besides the two colleges, the village is the seat of county government, which means all of the St. Lawrence County government building are also tax exempt.
Other tax-exempt properties include several churches, not-for-profit agencies, Canton Central School and the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services Center and town and village properties,
Within the village, SLU owns the most tax-exempt property, with the assessed value totaling $109.5 million, according to village records.
By contrast, SUNY Canton owns $4.5 million worth of tax-exempt property, Mrs. Noble said.
Although the majority of its property is tax exempt, Mrs. Noble noted that SLU paid the village $32,650 this year in property taxes for several homes and other parcels it owns on East Main Street.
The owners of some other tax-exempt properties, such as Rushton Place, 1 Main St., make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the village.
Over that same time period, the total value of assessed property in the village increased from $240.8 million to $458.6 million, according to statistics from Mrs. Noble.
The new Nice N Easy convenient store that opened last year at 58 Main St. is among the properties that have been added to the village tax roll.