Cicero Town Supervisor Judy Boyke has scheduled a town board meeting on Sunday, in a last minute effort to save the proposed budget.
Right now, there are still more questions than answers, after the town board rejected the proposed budget that included a 2.75% tax increase on Wednesday night. By default, that put the preliminary budget in place. The preliminary budget includes a tax increase of 14.46%.
The town is also facing a twist, the state's new property tax cap law.
According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the law says a municipality is not allowed to pass a budget that exceeds a 2% increase of its total tax levy, unless it has passed a local law in advance of the vote. That local law must be approved by 60% of the membership of the governing body. Cicero did not pass a local law.
The law does allow for a mechanism to be used where there is an "erroneous" passing of a levy that exceeds the cap. Any funds collected in error over the limit must be put in reserve. As a result, most of the money that comes from a 14.46% increase in Cicero would likely be held in escrow.
The law does not allow for a willful passing of a budget that violates the 2% limit . It clearly states an override must proceed the adoption of any budget that is over the limit. Because Cicero's budget was adopted as a default budget, it's not clear exactly what happens to the tax money collected and when the town would be able to receive it.
That's one of the things Boyke is trying to find out.
"Right now, I'm looking," says Boyke. "I'm scrambling in every direction to try to salvage this if I can."
The proposed budget failed by a vote of 3 to 2. Supervisor elect Jim Corl was one of the people who voted down the budget.
"Last night, there were no good options for the residents of the town of Cicero with the proposals that we had in front of us," says Corl.
Board members Jessica Zambrano and Vernon Conway also voted against the budget. Boyke hopes at Sunday's meeting, she'll be able to change at least one of their minds. She says the budget has to be filed by Sunday.
Corl has called a news conference for 10:00 Friday morning at Driver's Village in Cicero to discuss the budget vote. Stay with CNY Central for more on this story as it develops.