Express News Staff
LAKE PLEASANT - Sometime late this year or early in 2014 Hamilton County's sales tax will probably increase by 1 percent, from 3 to 4 percent.
Based on 2012 figures, that will generate an additional $851,887 in revenues for the county.
The state sales tax will remain at 4 percent. This means the total sales tax will increase from 7 to 8 percent.
The New York State Legislature approved the sales tax increase early Saturday morning, June 22, near the very end of the legislative session, when it passed Home Rule legislation requests from Hamilton County and several other North Country counties.
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman William Farber announced the news during committee meetings Monday morning, June 24.
Farber said the full board would need to pass a resolution to raise the tax by 1 percent. He expects the increase would go into effect by Dec. 1 or Jan. 1 at the latest.
The county has been asking for permission to increase its sales tax for the past several years, saying it is needed to help fund road work that has been postponed to keep property taxes as low as possible and annual tax levy increases below the so-called 2 percent cap mandated by the state.
"Now that we have it, we need to use it the best way possible," Farber said, before going on to restate the intent to direct most of the increase to county highway and bridge repairs.
Superintendent of Highways Tracy Eldridge agreed. "We have roads and 68 county bridges we need to take care of," he said.
The Legislature has 30 days to send the bill to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who then has 10 days to sign or veto it. If he signs the bill the Board of Supervisors must still approve the increase or it won't go into effect.
Essex County was also authorized to increase its sales tax, from 3.75 to 4 percent. St. Lawrence County was authorized to increase its sales tax from 3 to 4 percent. Clinton County was authorized to extend its 4 percent local sales tax, as was Franklin County.