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Rye Council Sours on Cash Real Estate Transfer Tax

RYE, N.Y. – The Rye City Council discussed implementing a transfer tax on cash real estate sales within Rye on Wednesday at its regularly scheduled meeting. Rye City Manager Scott Pickup read from a proposal, citing transfer tax figures employed in Greenwich, Conn., although the Rye transfer tax could be 40 percent higher.

"This would add some additional closing costs and additional burden based on the way this is currently written," Pickup said. "So there are some transfer taxes and estate taxes in Connecticut, and if you applied the current proposal it would add a substantial amount to the sale of a property in Rye."

Council member Suzanna Keith was concerned that, with a lack of county support, the council might be spinning its wheels, and recommended that the council "punt" it.

Keith said there is a sense that the county “will renew certain taxes but they won't establish any new tax," Rye Mayor Doug French said. "So the transfer tax may be tough to pass."

However, three municipalities within the county, Peekskill, Yonkers and Mount Vernon employ a transfer tax. Council member Parker advocated for further exploring the transfer tax as a way to increase capital for the city.

"We have to decide if this is something we want to lobby our representatives, I think that's part of our job. The temperature for finding other ways for communities and municipalities to off-set the tax cap towards capitol, we have to do something," Parker said. "We should still decide as a council whether or not we want to push for it, and we should be vocal about it if we do."

Rye Judge Joseph Latwin, who spoke as a member of the public, felt that there were a variety of holes in the proposal.

"I think were approach is to explore it," French said. "We're putting everything on the table in these times but I think we will pass on this one for now."

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