St. Lawrence County legislature committee okays one-year extension to sales tax distribution model
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
The St. Lawrence County legislature’s Finance Committee approved a one-year extension for the distribution of collected sales taxes.
They took the action during their Monday, July 27 meeting streamed live on YouTube.County Attorney Steve Button told legislators that the three-year deal, which received approval from Albany, covers the collection of sales taxes. Their action at the July 27 meeting deals with the distribution of collected sales taxes.
“What you see in front of you envisions that continued rate for a single year of a collection for a three-year period,” Button told county lawmakers. “If we reach an agreement with the City of Ogdensburg that would cover the period post-2021, a new resolution has to be passed at that time that would encapsulate what that agreement means for the distribution to the city, the towns, and the county.
“What you have in front of you accomplishes the continued distribution for the one-year extension that’s been negotiated.”
Button said there are three options. The city can negotiate with the county and reach an agreement; the deal passed by the board can lapse, and the county would go to a distribution formula prescribed by state law; or the city can pre-empt. Pre-empting means they opt out of the county sales tax distribution and collection and the city would collect and spend their own sales tax.
Button said if the city doesn’t make a decision by Nov. 30, that would default to the county using the state’s distribution formula for distribution, which he described as “rather convoluted”.
Legislator James Reagen, R-Ogdensburg, said he wants the county and city to reach mutually beneficial deal.
“I want to make sure we don’t create a situation where we’re not able to accommodate the city’s needs as well as the county’s needs, especially since the city has gone through a lot of changes in terms of its administration,” Reagen said. “I think if we can find a way to work together amiably, both sides have an opportunity to find new ways of improving services to all people in the county.”
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