ELMIRA — Chemung County Legislators passed two resolutions during a county legislature meeting Monday regarding local sales tax.
The first resolution, which passed unanimously, asks Albany to renew the county’s additional 1 percent sales tax, while the second, which also passed unanimously, asks the State Legislature to allow counties to manage their own sales tax under the municipal home rule.
“The additional 1 percent is from 2000 and is not a change, we are not changing anything,” said Legislator Christina Sonsire.
Chairman David Manchester agreed and said that the county sales tax rate will remain static compared to previous years. Currently, sales tax in Chemung County stands at 8 percent, 4 percent going to the state and 4 percent going to Chemung County.
Sales tax remains one of the two biggest generators of revenue, along with real property tax, for Chemung County. For the first half of 2019, New York State as a whole generated $8.8 billion off sales tax revenue.
During public session, Elmira resident Jeanne Little addressed the legislature on the possible sale of the Chemung County Nursing Center facility.
Little started by telling a story of her time working at the facility, and then argued that Chemung County residents have become accustomed to the quality of care currently provided at the facility and that if it were to close or be sold hundreds of local jobs would be at risk.
“Statistics show that when a nursing facility is sold, staff is (usually cut roughly by half),” Little said.
Little also warned that if the facility is privatized it could be possible it would no longer accept medicaid or medicare patients in the same numbers or at the same rates forcing local residents to look out of county for their residential needs.
“I would urge all legislators to listen to constituents that the public wants this facility,” Little said, adding that any potential sale or privatization of the facility should be voted on in a public referendum.
Overall the meeting was short, lasting just over 30 minutes.