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Hammond wants higher percentage of sales tax distribution

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HAMMOND —The Town Council stopped short Tuesday of throwing its support behind St. Lawrence County’s sales tax proposal.

Legislators want to increase the county sales tax from 3 percent to 4 percent, bringing the total, with the state’s 4 percent, to 8 percent. County lawmakers have outlined a multiyear plan to use additional revenue from raising the tax to lower property taxes.

“If it is going to reduce taxes and increases our levy for our constituents, then I think it’s worth pursuing,” Councilman Douglas E. Delosh said. “I think we’re getting the short end of the stick, though.”

Town Council members said they would like to see a larger percentage of money redistributed back to the towns and villages.

Towns and villages expect to receive 10 percent of the 1 percent increase in sales tax revenue, which for Hammond equates to roughly $12,000 per year, Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said.

“We want more,” Councilman Howard W. Demick said.

Mr. Demick said he is also “skeptical” of whether the county would stick to its five-year plan to redistribute the 10 percent of its funds back to the towns and villages without a contract.

“It’s not written in stone on how they can spend this money,” Mr. Bertram said. “There’s no binding contract so they have to do that. There’s no guarantee.”

But, overall, the council acknowledged that the county’s five-year plan, which includes a 14 percent property tax reduction, would benefit Hammond property owners, Mr. Bertram said.

“We will make out favorably because we have a large tax base,” Mr. Bertram said. “It means a lot when the county drops 14 percent based on the number of people in the county. It won’t benefit every individual, but Hammond as a whole will end up paying less tax, when you combine property and sales tax.”

Mr. Bertram said he would take the town’s response to the next meeting of mayors and supervisors Tuesday.

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