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Lawmakers seek to extend extra sales, mortgage taxes

The Genesee County Legislature on Wednesday renewed its biennial requests for two levies that net more than $4 million a year.

The addition of a percentage point to the sales tax brings in about $4 million a year, which the county uses for debt reduction and capital improvements. A quarter of a percent added to the mortgage tax yields as much as $300,000 a year.

Both are home-rule requests that must be approved by the State Legislature. Bills making the requests are now pending in Albany.

The current authorization for both levies expires in November.

The county's other 3 percent on the sales tax is divided among the county, the city, 13 towns and six villages.

On another issue, expanded use of the county airport was the subject of three resolutions.

The Legislature approved a three-year extension of a State Police lease of space for a helicopter, with a new rent schedule starting at $35,116 the first year, followed by 2 percent annual increases over the next two years.

A public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 11 in the Genesee County Courthouse on plans by two prospective tenants to build hangars at the airport. Both plans need approval for unusually long-term leases to finance the construction. The companies would own the hangars but would rent the land.

The companies are Zeliff Properties of Pavilion and Rochester Amphibian of Rochester.

Earlier, the legislators heard a presentation by Genesee Community College officials on the school's economic impact. An earlier study showed the regional economy is $500 million stronger because of the college. GCC has more than 600 employees and an annual payroll of more than $20 million.

Studies also show that GCC graduates -- more than 17,000 in the college's 40-plus year history -- have higher earnings than high school graduates.

The county, which is the sponsor for the college, contributes nearly $2 million a year toward its operations.

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