Should I see library fees with my town and school tax bills?: Your Stories

TOWN OF CICERO (WSYR-TV) - Ray Schader can show you every dime he's paid in library taxes for decades-- a quirk that has always bothered him.

"I've been paying library tax on my school tax and my property tax," Schader says.

All of his neighbors along a slice of Route 298 are in the same boat. They live right on the edge of the Town of Cicero and that's where they pay property taxes.

But, their school tax bill comes from the East Syracuse Minoa district.

"I have no problem with the library themselves, it's just that being taxed double, I don't think it's fair," he adds.

Libraries have a complicated patchwork of funding, inconsistent across the state.

Some have propositions on school ballots...like ESM.

Others form special districts, like the Northern Onondaga Public Library system, serving three locations...including Cicero. The town simply collects the money on behalf of NOPL.

Both models require voter approval. But, some voters are only affected by one bill or the other.

In Schader's neighborhood, they overlap and costs are rising.

"In 2000, it was $3 for the library and school tax and now it's $30," he says, checking a spreadsheet of tax payouts over several years.

He says the total for both taxes is now more than $100 and he wants library, town or county officials to remove one or the other.

"Everybody says it can't be done, but I say somewhere along the line it can be," Schader says.

Onondaga County's Director of Real Property Tax Services says people who want to grieve their tax bill can start with town's Board of Assessment Review, which he says typically meets the fourth Tuesday in May.

If that step ends with a denial, homeowners can try the Small Claims Assessment Review process or file an Article 7 lawsuit against their town.

He cautions that these taxing models are not uncommon and were approved by voters years ago. So, property owners shouldn't be surprised if their appeal is denied.


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