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Yates gas tax change may lower rates ADVERTISEMENT

Yates gas tax change may lower rates

YATES COUNTY--In a move that may help local and tourist wallets, the Yates County Legislature voted Monday, May 9 to change the way taxes are calculated on gasoline sales. This is an effort to decrease the price at the pump as historic high prices are being seen in the Finger Lakes and throughout the country. The legislature elected to collect a cents per gallon rate of sales instead of a percentage rate for such taxes.
"This only extends to January of next year... the impact for sales tax for gasoline amounts to 5 percent of what we receive," said Legislator Douglas Paddock. "(Under the new rate) we will still be getting about half of it."
Even without the recent explosion of gas prices due to global conflicts and inflation, Paddock said gas prices in Yates, specifically Penn Yan, were always high as is.
"I never spoke to anyone who thought the gas prices in Penn Yan are appropriate," said Paddock. "This will give help to folks who come through and our residents."
It was also brought up that the resolution could also bring some financial relief to farmers who have to gas up older tractors and other farm equipment. However, it was qualified that farm equipment using off-road diesel is already untaxed, but that many farms do use fuel from general gas stations too which are subject to taxes.
While the resolution does cut the amount of money the county will be able to collect, legislators brought up the fact that gas stations will be under no requirement that they have to pass the savings on to consumers and may instead just choose to pocket them.
"One thing I am concerned with is whether or not our gas stations will reduce the costs of fuel," said Legislative Chair Leslie Church. "Will [it] show up at the pumps?"
Legislators responded that the way to combat that possibility would be to inform consumers through the press that the rate cut has taken place and the intention is for any savings to be passed on to them and not gas station owners.
Terry Button was the sole vote against the resolution and his reasoning behind the no vote was a combination of long and short-term concerns.
"My concern is, the cost of product is the cost of the product, and we never know exactly what the fine print is," said Button. "When you opt-in to a program they can change the rules of the game and I am concerned about down the road (about the tax) so I am going to vote against it."
The legislature also voted to set a public hearing regarding expanding videoconferencing for public meetings to June 13.
"I just think it is a great idea because we can incorporate our public into our meetings more, making them more available," said Legislator Carlie Chilson. "There are many that can't make it to the day meetings."

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