Instead of begging County Treasurer Bill Cherry for a bigger share of sales tax revenue, Schoharie County’s villages should strongly consider city status, not to demand a larger piece of the existing sales tax pie, but to make their own pie. In New York State, incorporated cities can do something that villages can’t: they can levy their own sales taxes.
Follow my math for a second. Currently, Schoharie County’s villages are asking for an additional five percent of the county sales tax take, about $700,000. What’s the total annual sales tax revenue then, about 14 million dollars? About sixty percent of that revenue is generated in the village of Cobleskill, right? Sixty percent of 14 million is 8.4 million. Let’s say our hypothetical city of Cobleskill decided to levy a 1% sales tax. Since the county’s current sales tax rate is four percent, the city of Cobleskill would get 1/4th of what is currently generated in the village of Cobleskill at the county rate, which would be about 2.1 million dollars.
That’s money that wouldn’t have anything to do with the County. It wouldn’t bust the County budget and it wouldn’t take anything away from taxpayers in Jefferson or Conesville or wherever. A city of Cobleskill could use this extra revenue to spruce up Main Street (which would ultimately help to generate more sales tax revenue which would stay in the community), or they could drastically lower property taxes. Either way, it’s a huge boon to Cobleskill, and potentially other county villages, that doesn’t take anything away from those dependent on existing sales tax revenue.