Montgomery County looks at raising taxes

Montgomery County supervisors are revisiting a proposal to increase the mortgage recording tax.

Categories: Schenectady County

Montgomery County supervisors are revisiting a proposal to increase the mortgage recording tax.

The county Board of Supervisors’ finance committee reviewed a resolution Tuesday to boost the tax from the current $7.50 for each $1,000 in mortgage value up to $12.50 per $1,000 in mortgage value.

The increase would amount to a $1,250 tax on a $100,000 mortgage, compared to the current $750.

Some supervisors cited the tax as a means to boost revenues at a time when the county could use the money. Others say the increase could push some prospective homebuyers elsewhere.

The committee passed the resolution onto the full Board of Supervisors with no recommendation.

Canajoharie Supervisor Robert McMahon said he doesn’t support the idea. McMahon said people buying homes are typically more vulnerable because of the initial costs they incur, and he said the county government should be “trying to find more ways to keep more money in peoples’ pockets.”

Amsterdam Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said he believes Montgomery County is short-changing itself. He said other counties currently collect a greater percentage of mortgage tax.

“Montgomery County, for the most part, does not keep up with the times,” DiMezza said.

According to tax forms from the state Department of Taxation and Finance, Albany and Schenectady counties collect $12.50 per $1,000 in mortgage tax. Schoharie, Saratoga and Fulton counties collect $10 per $1,000 in mortgage tax.

DiMezza, a proponent of a proposal to construct a new county office building, said additional revenue could help the county spend on capital improvements. DiMezza noted that the county government has been spending money to help other entities with their construction projects, including the HFM BOCES and Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“We need to do things for [Montgomery] County,” DiMezza said.

Aside from providing money for a new building, DiMezza said the revenue could be used to stabilize property taxes, fix infrastructure or invest in the county Economic Development Department.

Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor David Dybas said he believes the tax should be considered during budget development.

But DiMezza said there’s a late fall deadline for the state Legislature to receive a county’s request for a tax change or the cycle wouldn’t allow the county to start collecting the proposed tax for another year.

The proposed increase, when discussed in 2005, would have boosted revenues for the county by at least $195,000 annually. Estimates of the current impact were not immediately available Tuesday night.

Supervisors expect to act on the proposal during their regular meeting later this month.

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