Port Jervis News...

Issue 1 — July 30, 2020

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Port Council Defeats State Tax-Cap Override

PORT JERVIS — Proposed Local Law 3 of 2020 has been defeated after it was put up for a vote in the common council for the City of Port Jervis.
A public hearing was held for the law, which allows for the city to have a tax cap override, at the common council meeting this past Monday. Upon the law being put up for enactment via motion, 4th Ward Councilmen Tim Simmons and Stanley Siegel both voted no. Second Ward Councilwoman Maria Mann also voted no on passing the motion.
Second Ward Councilwoman Chandler Campbell was not present at the meeting, thus there were only eight council members to vote on the measure. Despite a majority of the council members voting yes to pass the motion, a two-thirds super majority was not met. A simple majority was insufficient for the law to pass; thus it was defeated in a 5-3 vote in support of the motion passing.
Mayor Kelly Decker, a supporter of passing the local law, thought the defeat of the law was a poor choice that would have major repercussions on the city.
"Please understand to the public that you are going to see major cuts in our next budget," said Decker after announcing the defeat of the motion. "And I am not making any threats here. The people that have voted no here tonight have cost many people their jobs. And for you to have services by the city." Enabling the tax cap override, which the city has done several times in the past, would have shielded the city from financial penalties if they were unable to make it under the tax cap set by the State of New York. Third Ward Councilwoman Kristin Trovei is among the law's biggest supporters, arguing that it would provide a much needed financial safety net as the effects of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to worsen.
"The passage of this law does not in any way, shape or form prevent us from passing a budget for 2021 that is under the governor's tax cap level," said Trovei. "It merely provides the city with protection from financial harm if were are not able to make under the tax cap level.
"It is merely a safety measure to give us the ability to determine our own financial state instead of letting the governor dictate how we can and cannot spend our money. … This year was already hard with the pandemic and the essential shut down of our economy. We managed to hold the line here in Port Jervis."
Decker also voiced support for the law. He warned that if the financial chaos and reckless decision-making within the State of New York continues unstopped, many small towns and cities across the state will be driven into bankruptcy in the coming years. He urged residents to contact their local representatives in order to prevent this outcome from happening. "The bottom line is this: there are some pieces of the puzzle that we rely on from New York State," said Decker. "Sales tax revenue is one of them. This has already been diminished and they want to take more.".....For more infomation subscribe to our paper.