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Taxes Emerge As Issue

In Otsego Town Election

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Meg Kiernan
Joe Potrikus

FLY CREEK – Taxes have emerged as an issue in the Town of Otsego in the final days of the Town Board campaign, with a Republican incumbent saying they “may double” and a flyer from Republican candidates delivered over the weekend estimating the increase at 25 percent.

But Town Supervisor Meg Kiernan, who is running unopposed in Tuesday’s election, said taxes will go up only a bit this year and still be lower than in 2015.   “The Town of Otsego is healthy,” she wrote in a letter to the editor.

The town in years past had built up a surplus beyond what the state Comptroller’s Office recommends and was ordered to reduce it, Kiernan said.  That allowed taxes to remain steady, but that is coming to an end as the surplus has dropped to acceptable levels, she said.

The first salvo came in a campaign letter to voters, including residents of Cooperstown living west of Susquehanna River, from Republican Town Board member Joe Potrikus, who blamed “the short-sightedness of the majority of the current board, as they refused to acknowledge the warning signs that reserve funds were going to run out” and “consistently prevented sensible development.”

Then a flyer, from Republican Town Board candidates Robert Bohm and Carl Wenner, and Tim Walker, who is running the county Board of Representatives in the seat now held by Democrat Andrew Marietta, said “the initial proposed budget calls for a 25 percent increase!  And it doesn’t stop there: further projections show similar increase for the next two or three years.”

In her letter, Kiernan said the state Comptroller’s Office found the town has been “underestimating revenues and overestimating expenses in years prior:  Basically … overtaxing.  We have used the savings to offset taxes for two years.  We are now at the point where our savings are levelling to a point that is healthy, conservative and where the town is supposed to be.”

She asked interested residents to review the proposed budget at the town’s website,  “Our expenses are actually lower than last year,” she said, inviting people to come to the town board’s monthly meeting Wednesday if they have questions.  The 2018 budget has not yet been finalized.

Republicans Bohm and Wenner are challenging two incumbents, Democrats Carina Franck and Tom Hohensee. Potrikus is not up for election this year.  Potrikus is not up for election this year.


1 Comment

  1. The statement that 2018 taxes in the Town of Otsego will be lower than they were in 2015 is a rather puzzling statement. In 2015, my town taxes were $109.53. Based on the proposed 2018 budget, I believe my town taxes will be in the neighborhood of $153, a 40.6% increase over the 2015 taxes. Additionally, it should be noted that my town taxes in 2012 were $49.90. Thus, given the projected taxes for 2018, my Town of Otsego taxes will have gone up 168% in less than ten years. The Town of Otsego may be “healthy.” But the taxes are not.

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