$4.6 million in new taxes proposed

City considers establishing new taxes and fees

Earlier this year, the City commissioned a study to identify new options the City could use to raise additional revenues. The plan suggests the city consider a new Rain Tax, a new Yard Waste Tax, increasing parking fines, higher ambulance transport charges, charging for on-street parking and more. This report estimates the city could raise up to $4.6 million annually by imposing these new taxes.

Rain Tax – The report calls this idea an “innovative option.” A rain tax is one where all property owners pay a user fee based on the storm water runoff coming from their property. The study suggests this new fee could raise up to $800,000 from local property owners.

Yard Waste Tax – The report recommends the city consider requiring residents to purchase yard waste stickers and to affix those stickers to yard waste bags before they will be picked up by the DPW. This report suggests this new fee could raise up to $100,000.

Top billing in this report went to charging for on-street parking downtown. The report suggests the city consider increasing parking ticket fees as well. Selling ad space in parking garages and on city vehicles was also evaluated. The report suggests the city consider other increases such as:
• Taxi fees
• Building department fees
• Rental fees
• Ambulance transport charges
• Engineering fees

The Saratoga PAC believes each of the candidates should tell the residents of Saratoga Springs what their viewpoints are on each of these proposed new fees and taxes.

Do they support a new rain tax? Will they vote for a yard waste tax? Do they plan to vote in favor of charging for on-street parking downtown? Is selling ad space on city vehicles a good idea?

When this report was presented to the City Council, no one said publicly how they would vote. No one said publicly how they would vote. No one stood up to say yes or no. It was referred to a committee.

Here are the Minutes of the City Council Meeting on 9/15/15 where this plan was reviewed

Revenue Study
Commissioner Madigan introduced Dan Stevens and Michael N’dolo of Camoin Associates. They are here to present a revenue study for the City of Saratoga Springs. The research is for the Council to consider and use to make decisions for the City and are recommendations only.

Michael N’dolo stated they were asked to identify revenue sources for the City other than raising taxes. This study is about what the Council could do; not what should the Council do. They are presenting facts to base their decisions on. There are a number of major revenue sources; some new to the City and other existing. The City could do things like – on street paid parking; paid parking in garages; stormwater usage fees; fee in-lieu of parking; a second ambulance; and ad sales.

Dan Stevens reviewed the minor revenue options. They include things such as yard waste fee; engineering inspection fees; rental of Canfield Casino for 2 events per day; advertising on non-emergency vehicles; parking ticket collections; rentals at Waterfront Park; and rate schedules for police officers at special events.

Commissioner Franck stated advertising on vehicles was discussed in years past.

Mayor Yepsen asked if it is known what the estimated cost is to implement some of these ideas.

Commissioner Madigan advised that was not a piece that was included in the analysis. If the Council is interested in any of these ideas, they can take it to the next step.

Commissioner Franck suggested giving this study to the Revenue Committee that Commissioner Madigan mentioned in the past and have them look into this.

Commissioner Mathiesen stated our tax payers are bearing the cost to maintain the parking garages.

It would certainly be of value to understand the candidates’ views on these revenue generating ideas seeing that all of the ideas seeing that all of the ideas would directly impact local residents.

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