Dispute over sales tax revenues, shared services continues

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The firestorm between the City of Elmira and Chemung County officials continued on Wednesday. The two entities are at odds over how much the city has saved by combining services with the county.

Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell said the city has lost since the sales tax revenues started going to the county back in 2015.

On Tuesday, Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli told 18 News that a report completed by Center for Government Research clearly shows the city didn't actually lose any money. In fact, he said the report shows the city had a net gain of $1.6M Mandell said he believes that figure is incorrect.

"They're taking the lost revenue from the initial year when we got deducted the – they said $706K, and then they're again applying the formula based on that previous number in '15 that we received in revenue. So it isn't even an accurate number of what you actually lost," Mandell said. "The $5.1 mil is an actual amount of sales tax revenue that the city has lost. It's that simple."

Santulli fired back on Wednesday, he said the city's numbers calculate the sales tax loss as a cumulative sum and but account for the county's input towards shared services annually; which he said is like comparing apples to oranges.

"We have offered to them on three occasions to go back to the old formula of the sales tax and with that take your (city) employees with them, because we took their employees – you want to go back to the old way, that's what you say you want to do," Santulli said. "Because Danny included both what we did for the employees and the sales tax. So if you want the old formula back you can have it, three times, never responded. Wouldn't it make sense that if the old formula was to their benefit purely without us doing what we're doing for them with shared services, they would jump at the opportunity? No response."

City manager Mike Collins said he's not contesting the county's input into shared service costs. However, he is maintaining that the city has lost a gross total of $5.1M due to changes in the county's sales tax formula. Collins said there will be a council workshop to further discuss the matter at City Hall on Thursday.


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