Firefighters Fight To Reinstate Sales Tax Plan

By Lindsay Nielsen

September 27, 2012 Updated Sep 28, 2012 at 9:23 AM EDT

Endicott, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Local firefighter unions gathered in front of the Endicott Fire Department Thursday to voice their position on the 50/50 sales tax plan.

The local IAFF 921 of Johnson City and the local IAFF 729 of Binghamton say that municipalities are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales tax revenue because its not being shared equally or fairly.

They want the 50/50 sales tax plan reinstated.

Up until 2011, the county and its municipalities took an even, 50-50, split.

But, since 2011, there's been an extra hitch.

Once cities and towns reach 1.5 percent more than the allocated tax from the year prior, they hit a cap, where the surplus is allocated to the county.

"Not just the fire department and the police department, but all services. We're looking to help out the Water Department and public works for snow removal and streets and basically our infrastructure," said President of the IAFF Local 921 of Johnson City, Bob Blakeslee.

"For the City of Binghamton anyways, putting the split back to the way it was 2012 the City of Binghamton would stand to gain $1.2 million and they could use that to help offset the tax increase proposed by Mayor Ryan in his budget," said President of the IAFF local 729 of Binghamton, David Holleran.

According to data received from a report by the county comptroller from this month more than $5 million in sales tax revenue from 2012 was allocated to the county instead of to local governments.

In the 2013 budget County Executive Debbie Preston has proposed going back to the 50/50 split over a period of about seven years.