Somerset faces 113 percent tax increase

Google Map of Somerset, NY

SOMERSET, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents of a small town in Niagara County are looking at a 113 percent increase in their taxes.

The proposed 2018 budget for the Town of Somerset looks to increase the tax rate from $0.79 per $1,000 assessed valuation to $1.68 per $1,000.

The proposed tax rate is the same rate residents paid in 2012, Somerset supervisor Dan Engert said in a statement accompanying the proposed budget.

Engert called the 2018 preliminary budget “the most difficult since I took office”.

Over the past five years, the tax rate for Somerset has averaged $0.80 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, with the strategy of the Town Board looking to “reduce the tax rate as low as possible by drawing on reserves” to encourage economic development and home ownership in the town.

The increase in property tax is to help compensate for a nearly $1.2 million loss in revenue from the Somerset Operating Co. power plant. In 2008, the plant paid $1.3 million to the town as Payment in Lieu of Taxes. In 2018, only $139,000 in PILOT payment will be paid to Somerset- a 89 percent reduction in revenue.

“Simply put, when you lose 89 percent of your tax base that paid on average 70 percent of the total town tax, it’s inevitable that a shift will take place unless we eliminate major elements of town government,” Engert said.

The town is cutting its total spending by half in the proposed 2018 budget, from $1.5 million to $745,111- but “there aren’t many areas left to cut…without eliminating essential services”, Engert said.

A public hearing on the proposed 2018 budget will be held Wednesday at Somerset Town Hall.

The full proposed 2018 budget can be found here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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