Ulster comptroller says new sources of revenue must be pursued

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KINGSTON – Ulster County is facing a $30 million budget gap because of COVID-19 and County Comptroller March Gallagher said Monday “decisions should be made now to pursue additional revenue streams.”

Specifically, Gallagher suggested the county adopt a Mortgage Recording Tax and/or a Real Estate Transfer Tax. That, she said, could earn the county between $3.4 million and $6.5 million annually.

“We are hearing from realtors on the ground that properties are selling above asking price and sometimes sight unseen, so I think it is anticipated that we are going to see a lot of real property transfers here in the next year and we certainly use the revenue,” she said.

March Gallagher

“Right now, the clerk’s office is handling a lot of money for municipalities and for the State of New York, but we are seeing very little coming back to Ulster County.”

That would be a start to close the budget gap, but Gallagher said the county should consider other revenue sources such as increased public health permit fees. A hiring freeze should also be explored, she said.March