November 6, 2016

Ithaca Common Council Approves Property Tax Decrease

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Next year, Ithacans will see their property tax rates reach a 14-year low thanks to Mayor Svante Myrick’s ’09 budget, which the Ithaca Common Council approved last Wednesday.

Despite the tax decrease, the city will actually yield more tax revenue — $22,195,764, as opposed to last year’s, $21,765,380 — due to its rising property rates.

“We are seeing the benefits of increased development in the City of Ithaca,” Myrick said at the Oct. 3 Common Council meeting.

Another point of pride for the mayor is that under his budget, over half of one- and two-family households will pay less in Ithaca property taxes in 2017 than they did in 2016. The median change in city taxes for such homes is a decrease of $2.85, or 0.2 percent.

A federal grant to fund four new firefighter positions for two years — a gift that amounts to $640,015 — also played a small part in allowing the mayor to decrease property taxes.

Property taxes provide the city’s largest source of income, followed by sales taxes. The mayor said he anticipates sales tax revenue to increase next year but noted that the volatility of the economy inhibits accurate forecasting of this number.

“The economy remains unsettled and continues to have an uncertain impact on the 2016 and 2017 sales tax activity,” he said in the budget proposal.

Myrick’s budget specifically sets aside $1,000,000 for various street reconstruction projects and new public jobs, including a planner position in the city’s zoning department.