The Rockland County Legislature voted in favor of a new motor vehicle tax for residents at Tuesday’s meeting. The tax calls for car owners to pay $5 when registering a vehicle or $10 when registering an SUV or commercial vehicle more than 3,500 pounds.
The vote came Tuesday night after a brief public hearing on the tax where only two people spoke. The resolution passed on a 14-3 vote, with Legislators Frank Sparaco, Ed Day and Chris Carey voting against it.
Both were against the tax and Jim Flynn, of Nanuet, said he’d prefer another property tax increase because he can deduct that later.
“Having different kinds of taxes like this where non-property owners also have to pay, where anyone who wants to register a vehicle has to pay, it’s good to spread it around to property owners and non-property owners, it really is, I think,” Legislator Joseph Meyers said. “I felt the same way about the home energy tax. It was much more preferable to me than the sales tax because, I think, when you raise your sales tax, people coming from outside the county don’t want to shop here. That’s not a good thing for our businesses, and people look at how much a sales tax is in counties.”
Meyers added that raising property taxes can also hurt homeowners when they look to sell, which is another reason he preferred to raise a different tax.
Legislator Ed Day offered an amendment to the bill to have it expire two years after it officially starts up. The amendment was denied.
“It’s way too premature. We don’t have our deficit bond yet, we’ve asked the state for it and hope we’re going to get it. We haven’t had our books closed yet for 2011, and we won’t be able to sell that BAN, bond anticipation note, we won’t be able to even sell the deficit bond if we get it until September of 2013 after our books close for 2012 and the state comptroller certifies exactly what our deficit is,” Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said. “The bond is not to exceed $80 million, but the state comptroller must certify the amount. To say that we already put a cap on this when it’s just being initiated and next year will be the first full year that we will be able to achieve the revenue from this and then measure how much that revenue is, and to put a two-year cap on it so that we won’t even have a second year to evaluate it while we’re going to have a 10-year deficit bond, I just don’t think that’s good government.”
The legislators passed a number of other resolutions at Tuesday’s meeting. Here are some of them:
- While the legislature wanted to ask the state for a 20-year deficit bond, the state representatives instead went with a 10-year bond. To work with the new proposed bond, Legislator Aron Wieder proposed that the home energy tax expire in 10 years to match the bond, as it’s being used to help pay off the bond. It was initially scheduled for 20 years to match the legislature’s proposed bond.
- The legislature approved giving the sheriff patrol $155,876 in federal forfeiture funds to provide for equipment and software. They also approved $243,650 in federal forfeiture funds for the office of the sheriff for infrastructure upgrades, equipment, K9 care and police training. Another $275,000 in federal forfeiture went to the sheriff for jail infrastructure updates, equipment and training. The district attorney and sheriff received $9,000 in federal forfeiture funds to purchase Smart Board equipment and supplies for the sheriff’s R.E.A.C.T. Unit, which provides services on cases throughout the county.
- The legislature approved purchases in an excess of $100,000 from Universal Electric Motor Service, Inc. for pumps inspection, overhaul, rewind and repair services. The amount is to not exceed $135,000.