Friday, August 17, 2012

Sullivan County Property Taxes....Enough Is ENOUGH

Seems that our County Legislature wants to close a very large budget hole by voting to remove a property tax cap, to hit property owners with an additional increase in property taxes of somewhere between 5 and 10 percent.  Simply stated, the property taxes in Sullivan County are "TOO DAMN HIGH" as it is, and the citizens simply cannot afford another rise in already exorbitant county property taxes, and in the case of those who rent, they cannot afford rent increases in a time of economic despair that most landlords would want to levy to offset such a property tax increase.

As example, looked at a house for sale the other day which is on the market for $70,000 (asking price) and the yearly property taxes on this property are $3,300 per year...almost five percent of the total value of the property if you were to pay full asking price for it.  Do the math, and you realize every 20 years would see you paying the full value of your house in property taxes.  When the property owners of the county say they "just cannot afford any more taxes" they are very serious, and speaking from their hearts. There is something terribly wrong when the escrow amount to pay property taxes would be more money than the mortgage itself would be.

Perhaps it is time to wake up to a simple reality...Sullivan County needs more year around residents, and far fewer summer visitors...yes, our sales tax collections are slowly recovering to prerecession levels, but what hurts the budget is a simple fact...summer residents only pay sales taxes for three months of the year rather than 12 months of the year.  Couple that with the large number of properties that have been granted questionable tax exemptions for claimed religious reasons, and you have to few people being asked to carry to large of a burden.  Taking steps to discourage further summer residents, and to build our year round resident population would increase sales tax collections on a year round basis, and take the tax target off the foreheads of our county's home owners.