East Syracuse 2014-15 tax rate down 5.5 percent to $15.50

— On April 30, the East Syracuse Village Board voted unanimously to approve its 2014-15 budget, which calls for a new rate of $15.50 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

The new tax rate may be a sign that things are starting to turn around for the village, which saw its tax rate jump 22 percent last year to a rate of $16.41.

“One of the first budgets we were handed a month ago estimated [a tax rate] around the $20 mark. So this is a significant change, to go down four or five dollars with substantial losses in revenue,” said Mayor Robert Tackman. “I commend the board members on their efforts – we’re certainly not done and will continue to work [to keep costs down] into next year.”

This year, East Syracuse lost $6 million in assessments and other revenues. Residents voted to eliminate the village’s police department, which helped to keep costs down. Tackman said the board only budgeted for seven months of police service in the current budget, as the DeWitt Police will take over patrolling the village starting Jan 1.

Taxpayers will also see a large drop in expenses towards the village’s sewer fund. The tax rate has been a steady $1.20 for the last five years, but residents will only have to pay 70 cents per $100,000 of assessed home value this year – a 42 percent decrease over last year’s total.

Fireworks and flowers

Last year, the board eliminated the funds for the village’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show from its budget, but the event ended up being privately funded by Gino Barbuto of East Syracuse Chevy and County Legislator Danny Liedka after an outcry from residents.

The board budgeted $8,500 in the 2014-15 budget for the fireworks, but Tackman said several businesses and groups may donate funds to offset the costs of putting on the show this year, including the East Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, Trapper’s and East Syracuse Chevy. This year’s Fourth of July celebration will be held on Saturday, July 12.

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