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Feb 15 City Council Meeting Notes

As always, I have been and will continue to provide an update on City Finances regularly

Budget Documents on City Website: I have been focusing on greater transparency and accountability in finance and especially with our budget. One of the campaign promises I had made was to have the budget available in easy to read format on city website. THAT IS NOW COMPLETE. If you go to Finance Department – Budgets – 2022 Budget – You will now have not only the full 180+ page budget but also a document called Supplemental budget that is informative and easy to read. If you are interested in finances and budgets and where money comes from and where it goes – please take a look at the budget.

Another piece that I had campaigned on was making our city more inclusive and financially healthy – we are actively exploring new sources of revenue – such as taxes on the sale of marijuana and short term rentals paying occupancy tax. We are also exploring greater civic engagement and inclusivity with initiatives such as Participatory budgeting. Currently we are exploring it as an option for 2022. And if we do implement it – it will be less than 1% of our budget. But as we saw from the presentation it leads to greater civic engagement and a more inclusive society.

On February 7, 2022 I held a public forum on the Finance Department, with an overview of City budget and finance issues as well as an introduction to participatory budgeting. The slides that I used for this forum are uploaded with this agenda and available on the City web site. I plan to have more and will keep you informed.

2022 Property Tax Bills: About 11,000, were mailed last week. Payments are due quarterly, on March 1st, June 1st, September 1st and December 1st. Payments can be mailed, made in person, or paid online.

2.25% Discount: Full year payment with the discount must be made at 1-time, in a single lump sum, on or before March 1st. Full year payments taking advantage of the 2.25% discount can be made at the Finance office in City Hall, online, or any Adirondack Trust Company.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the receiver of Taxes, Laura Townsend, at 518.587.3550 x2564.

Sales Tax 2021 Updates: The City only has one more payment remaining to close out the 2021 year and I will provide a clearer picture of our sales tax update once we have those figures.

The 2021 sales tax estimate was $9.9M. 2022 estimated revenue is $14.9M and in line with our 2021 collections.

This is excellent news for the City fund balance as well as the City bond rating. A strong bond rating keeps interests rates down, which bodes well for our Capital Budget.

Municipal Marijuana Revenues: The current NYS legislation governing sales tax revenue from Marijuana sales states:

The State has established three taxes – State tax on milligrams of THC, a 9% excise tax and a 4% local tax on the sale of cannabis in NYS. All revenue will be deposited in the Cannabis Revenue Fund. Re the 4% Local Tax deposit, 25% will go to Counties; 75% goes to municipalities (Cities, Towns, and Villages).

It remains to be determined where and how municipalities will be able to allocate these revenues and if there are any restrictions on how we use the funds. This is a new and hopefully a substantial addition to City revenue. We are working with county supervisors and members of city hall to learn more and create estimates for the coming year. I will continue to report on this as it develops.

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