Oswego approves property tax hike

In December, city lawmakers passed Oswego’s 2014 budget, which included a 43 percent property tax increase.

For Oswego State students living off-campus, the property tax increase presents the possibility of higher rent payments as the city’s landlords adjust to the rising property tax on their houses and apartments.

According to Syracuse.com, an 81.8 percent increase in property taxes was originally proposed for the city’s 2014 budget. That percentage was adjusted to 43 percent after residents expressed their disapproval.

Although unpopular due to the increase in property taxes, Oswego City Mayor Thomas Gillen told Syracuse.com that although “it’s going to be a challenging year,” the anticipated budget will “make Oswego deficit neutral for 2014.”

The 2014 budget, which totals $197,173,120 according to the Oswego County Public Information Office, has been designed to reduce the city’s $4 million deficit.

With the institution of the new budget, homeowners are looking at a property tax rate of $14.39 per $1000 in assessed house value, up from the current rate of about $10. The budget’s impact on Oswego State students living off-campus has not yet been thoroughly reviewed.

The property tax increase will not immediately affect students currently living off-campus.

The effect likely will not be until 2015, when students signing a lease may see higher overall rent prices.

“I don’t think (the increase in property taxes) will affect students this semester or next semester,” said Atom Avery, a city landlord and owner of Oswegohousing.com.

Avery said that, similar to most landlords in Oswego, he offers 12-month leases to his tenants. For students who have signed a lease for the 2014-2015 school year, these year long-leases have been signed before the 2014 budget goes into effect. Therefore the upcoming budget, along with the subsequent increase in property taxes, cannot affect these leases because the lease terms have already been signed and agreed to.

Avery said he does not foresee the rising property taxes increasing rent for students “until 2015 or 2016.”

Oswego City Councilman Shawn P. Walker said that students’ rent “could go up a little bit” in the future as landlords adjust to the rising property taxes, but that it will not be “that much.”

According to Walker, the increase in property taxes will have more of an impact on homeowners.

City Councilman William J. Barlow, Jr. gave similar reassurance.

“As the cost of doing business goes up in Oswego, the cost of rent and security deposits for students may rise as landlords adjust to rising costs,” Barlow said, adding that any increase in housing-costs for students living off-campus would be “minor.”


Editor’s note: This article has been updated from its original version to correct the spelling of Atom Avery’s name. The Oswegonian regrets the error. 

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