State raises property tax cap for municipalities for 2019

Published Jul 13, 2018 at 4:00pm

The state’s property tax cap for municipalities like Rome with a fiscal year that matches the calendar year will be 2 percent in 2019, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today.

This figure affects the tax cap calculations for all counties, towns, fire districts, 44 cities and 10 villages.

“For these local governments, allowable levy growth will be 2 percent for the first time since 2013,” DiNapoli said.

“Despite the possibility of increased tax revenue, municipal budgets will still be vulnerable to rising fixed costs and potential federal funding cuts. Local officials should proceed cautiously when crafting their spending plans for next year,” the state comptroller added.

The tax cap, which first applied to local governments in 2012, limits tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or 2 percent with some exceptions, including a provision that allows municipalities to override the tax cap.

During the 2014 through 2018 fiscal years, municipalities with a fiscal year ending on Dec. 31 had their levy growth capped at less than 2 percent.

“This is good news for the municipality,” said Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo today. “We haven’t had a full 2 percent to work with since 2013. In Rome we will work very diligently to stay under the 2 percent. I do not anticipate us going over it.”

The city’s budget process for the following year starts to go into full throttle in June. By now, all department heads have submitted requests and the Treasurer’s Office is working out line items.

“We’re about where we are at this time of the year,” said Izzo.

The administration presents a proposed spending plan to the Common Council at its last meeting of September, which this year is Wednesday, Sept. 26. The process then takes another month before the council can vote. If the administration wants to exceed the state cap, the council must approve it.

Last year, the administration was in the midst of several union negotiations during budget season, a complication that included how future pay raises would affect spending. Those deals are all in place now, with 2 percent raises across the board in 2019. With that factor understood, Izzo said there are no surprises for the 2019 plan.

In 2018, the city’s tax levy went up from $15,189,239 to $15,267,813. That was increase of 0.52 percent, well within the 1.84 percent cap.

The city’s budget this year is $43,180,894, up $681,947 over the previous year. The tax rates for the inside and outside district are $20.24 and $13.31 per $1,000 in assessed value, respectively. Those rates were unchanged from 2017.