ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County's sales tax is set to increase by a quarter percent on Dec. 1.
The last piece of the puzzle was put in place Monday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law that will bring the county's sales tax up to 8 percent.
In the years since he has been governor, Cuomo has refused to sign any new taxes or tax increases. Randy Douglas, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, told the Enterprise Tuesday that he's thankful that Cuomo gave in after the county requested the increase several years in a row.
"We pleaded with them, and they heard our calling," Douglas said. "I can't thank them enough for approving this."
The state Legislature approved the bill in late June.
The extra quarter percent is expected to bring in an extra $2 million each year to help balance the county's budget. Douglas said that will help close a $6 million to $8 million budget gap that is anticipated for the coming year.
County officials wanted the tax because it will help property owners share some of the cost of the county's services with tourists who come shopping in places like Lake Placid, Douglas said.
"It takes the burden off the local taxpayers, and that's all we're trying to do," Douglas said. "We tried to hold off as long as we could, but we certainly couldn't do it anymore."
Both Clinton and Franklin counties, which neighbor Essex County, already charge 8 percent, and some counties and cities charge more.
"It's a good thing," town Supervisor Roby Politi told the News. "It's not as if the rate is out of line statewide, because it's not even close to what other places are paying."
Douglas said the tax won't go into effect until December to give stores time to adjust their systems to charge the extra quarter percent.