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Possible utility tax hike in store for C-PP residents

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Possible utility tax hike in store for C-PP residents
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There was no shortage of opinions at Tuesday night's public hearing in the Corning-Painted Post school district. The district is proposing raising taxes on utilities. As our Katie Husband tells us, the move isn't unprecedented, but it also isn't sitting well with residents.

PAINTED POST, N.Y. -- Corning-Painted Post might have found a new source of revenue: a tax on residents' utilities. But the idea of bigger bills didn't sit well with people at Tuesday night's public meeting.

"It seems like the course of action that we continue to provide services, maybe we can no longer afford," said Scott Austin, a Painted Post resident.

The utility tax could be imposed on services like telephone, electric, gas and steam. District officials say they've already received plenty of feedback.

"Personally, I'm not surprised at the response and outside of this meeting for the people that have come up to me to speak to me or called, not one person has said, 'you ought to do this,'" said Dale Wexell, school board president.

By New York State law, small city school districts are allowed to put a tax on utilities as high as three percent, and over one third of the districts have. Austin says even if C-PP votes to raise the taxes by one percent, the authority is there to continue to raise it in years to come.

"Everyone of them are all the way to the top, except for one district that's at two and a half. The problem is, is it never stops," said Austin.

Administrators say, as a school board it is their job to look at all possible options to bring in revenue.

"It doesn't mean we've already decided to adopt it but, we have to at least figure out what is necessary if we were to adopt that," said Wexell.

The school board will discuss the utility tax option in Wednesday night's meeting.

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