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Johnstown residents facing property tax hike of more than 100 percent

The Johnstown Town Board debates a proposal that would more than double property taxes.

What may scare residents in Johnstown more than any spooky display this Halloween -- is a proposal to raise property taxes by more than 100%.

"It's a case of a bookkeeper that didn't pay attention to business," said Town Supervisor Jack Wilson.

"Wrong accounting figures or wrong acknowledgement of bills and not being properly placed in the right departments," explained Councilman Timothy Rizzo.

Wilson says it's a situation he inherited. He came back to office in 2016 for a second time after a four-year break. Wilson says when he left in 2012, the town had a surplus of more than $2 million, but he says that money was allowed to dwindle down to almost nothing. That's why he says now the board is left with no other option.

"It's against everything that's in me morally and ethically to have to do this," Wilson said.

We asked if residents would be able to afford the hike.

Wilson sighed, and answered, "probably no more than I can. I live on a fixed income myself."

Rizzo added, "there's not a lot of wealth or income in this township and it's going to hit the people hard but, I don't know what to say. I don't have an answer. All I can say is we have to build a plan that will help guide us. Without that, we're sitting dead in the water. We've gotta build a plan."

Since the initial proposal, Wilson says they've been able to come down 20 cents and he's hoping to come down further.

There is a public hearing on the budget on Nov. 6.

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