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Southampton Village Could Pierce Tax Cap

Village Board sets public hearing for law that would open the option of overriding 2 percent tax cap.

Though Southampton Village is months out from adopting a 2012-2013 budget, Village Board members are making moves to ensure that when the time comes they will have the option of exceeding the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap.

Village Trustees Nancy McGann, Bonnie Cannon and Bill Hattrick passed a resolution Tuesday setting a March 8 hearing date on a local law that would permit the board to pierce to the cap. Scheduling a hearing does not necessarily mean that the board will, in fact, adopt the law, nor does it mean the board will definitely go above 2 percent. But the board members who were present Tuesday agreed that they would like to have the option on the table. Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said 70 percent of the state's municipalities have already adopted such a law.

Mayor Mark Epley and Trustee Richard Yastrzemski are on vacation this week and were absent from the brief meeting.

The tax cap is a state mandate imposed in 2011 that limits the year-to-year increase in municipal tax levies to 2 percent. The tax levy is different from the budget itself, because the village has other sources of revenue, such as grants, fines and fees. A village or town can override the tax cap if 60 percent of its board members agree. A school district can override if 60 percent of voters sign off.

The hearing is slated for the March 8 Village Board meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at Village Hall.

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