Schenectady County

Colonie supervisor proposes one-time tax to pay down deficit

Colonie property owners may have to pay an average of $250 on top of their other town taxes to help

Town property owners may have to pay an average of $250 on top of their other town taxes to help the town bridge an estimated $18 million deficit.

Town Supervisor Paula Mahan has proposed a “one-time eficit correction tax” on all residential and commercial property to end the financial crisis in town.

There are an estimated 30,000 households in town.

The bill would be based on the assessed value of a home, and the projected average bill would be $250. The tax would be based on a sliding scale, and individuals with higher-priced homes would pay more while those on fixed incomes would pay less.

The mechanics and legal issues are still being worked out, and the measure still must be approved by the Town Board. Mahan, who held a news conference this morning at Town Hall, said the bill would not be due until this fall or later.

The proposal is the latest emergency measure being considered by Mahan and the new town administration to bridge the looming deficit.

Mahan said that she has heard from many town residents who tell her, “Why don’t we just bite the bullet and get it done in one shot?”

If the proposal is passed and Heritage Park is sold for an estimated $2 million, the deficit would be wiped out, Mahan said.

“In 2009, we would not have to raise taxes,” said Mahan, a Democrat who was elected in November when she upset incumbent Republican Mary Brizzell.

Mahan said the other alternative is a 25 percent property tax increase for 10 years, and she said she refuses to burden the town residents with that level of taxation.

The Town Board is expected to meet tonight to discuss the proposed one-time tax.

The town is also asking the state Legislature if it can pursue deficit financing, which gives the town authorization to borrow to cover the deficit. Mahan said this is a safety net.

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