Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Democrats Accuse Brooks Administration of 'Playing Games'

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Rochester: Democrats Accuse Brooks Administration of 'Playing Games'
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Democrats on the Monroe County Legislature are accusing the Brooks administration of costing the average taxpayer $1.30 more per thousand dollars of assessed property.

Democrats held a news conference Monday; the day before the legislature's budget vote. They criticized County Executive Maggie Brooks' spending plan.

Brooks' proposed budget calls for a tax levy of $8.99-cents, but Democrats say the "true average tax rate" is actually $10.29.

Democrats point to twelve so-called charge-backs, or fees that will appear on tax bills. They say Brooks does not include them in her tax levy because she wants to give the impression that her administration is not raising taxes.

"We all know the cost of government is going up. So, how do you maintain the fiction of an $8.99 tax rate. You do it by playing games with the tax bill,” said Paul Haney, (D), county legislator.

Those charge-backs include snow plowing fees for town residents and the cost of indigent burials for city residents.

"The reality is the cost of these projects and the costs of services do go up, and our choice is, do we raise taxes or do we try and come up with a fair and equitable way to subsidize the increased cost of services? We've done that this year,” said Brooks, (R).

The full legislature votes on the budget tomorrow night.

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