The Utility Tax Is Out For Now
The squeaky wheel gets the oil and once taxpayers in North Tonawanda found out about it they got pretty squeaky. What they found out was that the North Tonawanda School Board had intended to implement a 3 percent utility tax as a way to close a $1-million budget deficit. During Wednesday's board meeting the board announced they are abandoning that plan.
School board president Michelle Golding had said they were looking for creative ways to close the budget gap and the utility tax was a way of circumventing the State Tax Cap. The utility tax would have placed a 3 percent tax on every gas, electric and phone bill.
It was just another free money grab that residents and business owners in North Tonawanda said they wanted nothing to do with. Golding said she had received numerous emails and phone calls from residents, particularly retirees, expressing their dislike of the new tax.
So now at their next meeting April 5th the school board will consider one of three budgets based on 1%, 1.25% or 1.4% property tax increases, all of which are under the State Tax Cap. That would mean actually making some hard decisions on programs and staffing.
Those are the types of choices that should have been made in the first place; meaning actually doing some work rather than just putting their hands into the pockets of taxpayers. And even though the utility tax is out for this year there's no guarantee it won't become a topic in the future.
Once a proposed budget is in place the 2017-18 North Tonawanda School Budget will be up for vote on May 16th.