Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) announced that the governor signed into law the property tax cap bill he sponsored (Ch. 97 of 2011).
“Property taxes in Rockland County are some of the nation’s highest,” Zebrowski said. “This bill will finally provide some much-needed relief to our hardworking families.”
The law ensures that real property taxes are capped at 2 percent of the previous year’s levy for municipalities and schools. Municipalities will be required to provide data used to calculate the cap to the comptroller. If localities wish to exceed the 2 percent limit, a 60 percent vote of the local governing body for municipalities or a 60 percent vote by the taxpayers for school-budget votes would have to occur in order to override the cap, Zebrowski noted.
“High taxes are burdening young families trying to establish themselves, working families looking to make ends meet and seniors struggling to get by,” Zebrowski said. “The taxes are also holding down economic development by preventing businesses from setting up shop here or forcing them to close down altogether. But this tax cap is going to be a game changer for Rockland. Our families and businesses will now be able to breathe again.”
The legislation also includes mandate relief to further help create a more business-friendly climate in Rockland and to allow local government and schools, with the help of the newly established Mandate Relief Council, to have a say in what mandates are in the greatest need of reform or elimination.
“This mandate relief will work hand-in-hand with the property tax cap,” Zebrowski
said. “Municipalities will continue to provide our families with the services they rely on, but they’ll no longer be drowning in state mandates that make their job next to impossible.”
The law provides additional relief, including:
- allowing municipalities to save money by piggybacking on county public works and services contracts and certain federal contracts;
- allowing schools districts with less than 1,000 enrolled students to share a superintendent;
- providing school bus mandate relief;
- allowing for school districts to provide regional transportation services with BOCES;
- removing statutory salary requirements for municipal chiefs of police; and
- allowing departments of transportation to enter into joint agreements with municipalities.
“This legislation finally begins to answer the cry of many of Rockland families, businesses and schools,” Zebrowski said. “Homeowners will have better peace of mind knowing their property taxes will remain within reach. Businesses will no longer fear a double-digit spike in taxes. And our schools and local government will be less burdened with mandates and enjoy more flexibility in best making use of funds. It’s a win-win for Rockland.”