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Senators and St. Lawrence County will keep talking about sales tax increase


State senators meeting with St. Lawrence County legislators in Albany Thursday encouraged them to keep the dialog going with towns and villages on a distribution plan if the local sales tax is increased.

“The discussion was both candid and informative, and included a description of the county’s proposal to use its entire share of the sales tax increase to provide property tax relief for county residents,” according to a statement from Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, on behalf of all those who attended the meeting. “County leaders repeatedly assured the senators that the plan was realistic and workable, based on present assumptions.”

Legislators want to increase the county sales tax from 3 to 4 percent, bringing the total - with the state’s 4 percent - to 8 percent. To convince state senators, the county produced a five-year plan showing how it could drop property taxes if it received the increase.

However, some of the county’s towns and villages are unhappy with the 10 percent distribution the county has proposed they would receive from the increase.

The senators asked the legislators to continue the discussions to reach a consensus.

The county Board of Legislators will have a special meeting at 5:15 p.m. Monday to approve a resolution that it would use the additional sales tax for property tax relief if the assumptions within the five-year plan do not change. The resolution also requests home rule legislation from the state that would allow the county to raise its sales tax.

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