GLENS FALLS — Sales tax revenue is a key issue for the two candidates running for Ward 3 county supervisor.
Third Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer, a Democrat who is seeking her third two-year term, is being challenged by Libertarian Nathan Dunn.
Supervisor Doug Beaty has floated a proposal to increase the sales tax rate from 7% to 8% and distribute the additional funds to school districts to lower local property tax rates. Braymer said she is open to the idea of looking at a sales tax increase, but she is not sure Beaty’s proposal is feasible.
“I think that there are some problems with practical implementation on giving the money to the school boards for their budgets,” she said Monday in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board. “I’m skeptical that it would lower school tax rates.”
She wondered if some of this sales tax money should go toward infrastructure projects.
Braymer favors revisiting the current sales tax distribution formula, which splits up sales tax revenue among towns in the county based upon assessed value.
She also believes a more formal evaluation process is needed to determine which events should get occupancy tax money based, upon the best return on investment.
“When you’re talking about a sidewalk in Lake Luzerne being paid for with occupancy tax money, I have a hard time justifying that,” she said.
Braymer serves as chairwoman of the Environmental Concerns and Real Property Committee. She said she was able to build up support for a plastic bag ban, even among conservatives, because her colleagues are also concerned about protecting the environment. The county did not advance the legislation, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo was pushing his own bill, but she thinks it could have passed.
Braymer cited other environmental accomplishments, including installing electric vehicle charging stations; instituting a unified solar permit for people seeking approval for solar projects outside of Glens Falls and Queensbury; providing training for code enforcement officers on energy efficiency; and adopting a financing program for people who want to invest in clean energy.
If re-elected, Braymer said, she wants to focus on creating a new master plan for the county, whose master plan has not been updated since the 1970s.
Braymer said she would also like the county to do more to address the lack of affordable housing. To get people employed, she wants to partner with SUNY Adirondack on work force training, focusing on preparation for contemporary careers.
Braymer, a lawyer, said she brings the perspective of a younger working parent and is hard-working and dedicated. She believes it is time for a woman to lead the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
You have free articles remaining.
“There are only four women on the board, and I think that’s also important to have a women’s perspective when you’re talking about issues that affect all of us, and 50 percent of the population is women.”
Dunn, a first-time candidate, said he doesn’t think the county should distribute any sales tax revenue to municipalities.
Instead of a complex distribution system that occasionally gets tweaked, he said, the county should use all of the revenue to pay for services the state requires the county to provide.
“The sales tax is supposed to be paying for those things, but municipalities use it to lower their town tax,” he said. “That obfuscates the actual town costs. I would have the county keep it. Use it properly, the way it was intended.”
He also wants to be a voice of restraint at the county.
“I see so often, ‘Well, the government has to do something,’” he said. “What else can we look at? How else can we figure it out?”
He cited a recent complaint from a resident who sees multiple trash trucks go up her street, each picking up just one person’s garbage, and suggested a municipal garbage pickup would be more efficient and less disruptive.
He would have suggested the resident get all her neighbors to switch to the same garbage company, or for everyone to pitch in on one dumpster for the block, he said.
“Yes, we need to be helping people, taking care of our community, but it’s not necessarily government’s role,” he said. “And when government gets involved, it can cause problems.”
He wants to closely watch plans to make sure they stick to their original purpose and budget.
“Make sure things don’t bloat ... and become this awesome wish list of great ideas that end up costing 10 times more,” he said.
Dunn is a stay-at-home dad who is homeschooling his daughter. Previously, he was a manager at CVS.