ALLEGANY — For a second year in a row, the Allegany Town Board has voted to override the state’s 2% tax cap.
No one spoke at a public hearing on the proposed local law on Tuesday night, according to Allegany Supervisor Mike Higgins. The town board later passed the local law.
“We did it just in case,” Higgins told the Times Herald Thursday. “We do not plan to exceed the 2% limit on increasing the tax levy.”
Higgins said the town board approved an override of the 2% cap on the tax levy — or amount to be raised by property taxes — “for the first time last year. We went to just below a 4% increase.”
Higgins said it was the first time since the tax cap was enacted by the state that the town of Allegany voted to exceed the cap. It’s not a sure thing it will happen again this year, but town officials want to be prepared if inflation picks up again.
The city of Olean’s proposed 2023 budget seeks a 6% increase in the tax levy, exceeding the tax cap. Aldermen are looking for other revenues to reduce the amount of the tax increase.
The Allegany supervisor said the town was still able to keep the 2023 tax levy increase to below the rate of inflation, which was 6% or more.
“I don’t have a feel for how the (2024) budget will look,” Higgins said. “I hope we don’t have to go above 2%, but it will depend on inflation.”
Inflation hit the 2023 budget across all departments, but especially hard in the road maintenance and repair accounts, Higgins said. “If we don’t increase these accounts by at least the cost of inflation, it ends up cutting road maintenance.”
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)