Proposals to increase taxes and fees generated conversation this morning among legislators and representatives of Montgomery County’s business community.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito “Butch” Greco and other supervisors addressed more than 60 people during the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s 2008 State of the County Breakfast at The Winner’s Circle.
Greco outlined successes in the county’s business community, citing plans for a new Beech-Nut baby food facility in the town of Florida and expansion of Power Pallet in Amsterdam as signs of growth.
“Our future is bright,” Greco said.
Supervisors Barbara Johnson, Ronald Barone, John Thomas, Shayne Walters and Thomas DiMezza all provided an overview of issues addressed in the board committees they chair, and discussions that followed focused on increased taxpayer costs planned to bolster county finances.
An April 22 hearing is scheduled on the plan to increase the mortgage recording tax from the current 75 cents per $100 of a mortgage’s value to $1.25 per $100, projected to raise about $300,000 for the county.
Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors member Patricia Beck asked supervisors to describe how that proposal will mesh with the goal to provide tax breaks on new construction within the county, another proposal being studied by county lawmakers.
DiMezza, supervisor for the town of Amsterdam and one of the mortgage tax increase’s sponsors, answered that the county is one of only a few that doesn’t collect more than 75 cents per $100 of a mortgage’s value. He said the initiative is one of several aimed at providing relief to property owners.
“We have to look at a way of reducing property taxes,” DiMezza said.
DiMezza added that he expects county lawmakers this year to address other revenue-generating proposals, including increasing the sales tax rate and implementing a $10 fee on two-year vehicle registrations.
Chamber member Judith Phetteplace from Judith-Ann Realty asked supervisors to consider other increases residents are facing during their deliberations, including gas prices and toll hikes on the state Thruway.