In Annual Address, Suffern Leader Says Budget Will Meet Tax Cap for 2nd Year in Row
Announces 30k Annual Contribution from Exempt Property
Suffern, NY (December 3, 2012) - Mayor Dagan Lacorte said large non-profits that enjoy 100% property tax exemptions need to contribute to the costs of police and fire protection in order to keep Rockland affordable in remarks at Suffern’s Annual Meeting last night.
“It is simply not fair to have over 20% of the village’s assessed value exempt from any taxation and place that burden on everyone else. While non-profit and religious organizations are our partners in serving the community, it is fair for the larger organizations to contribute to the cost of certain public services such as police and fire service costs currently provided at no charge,” Lacorte said. Good Samaritan Hospital, for example, enjoys a total property tax exemption on land worth over $19 million. Non-profit exemptions cover nearly $55 million of the village’s $212 million tax roll.
Lacorte announced that he negotiated a $30,000 annual payment from the tax exempt Gitlow Tower/Rockland Jewish Home for the Aged to cover police and fire costs for their new residential building. He said he will be writing to each tax exempt property owner asking them to follow Gitlow’s lead and voluntarily contribute to the village budget.
Lacorte said he will vocally and publicly acknowledge every organization that responds favorably to this request on behalf of our citizens.
“While our focus must be on growing the tax base with clean commercial ratables, fairness dictates that everyone who benefits from public services contributes to providing them.”
Lacorte said he supports state legislation that would cap the amount of a municipality’s tax roll that would be exempt from property taxes. “We need to recognize that good work performed by non-profit and religious organizations, but we also need to realize that everyone in the community needs to support our first-rate police, fire and other emergency responders.”
Lacorte said that the tax exemption process itself needs to be fixed. “Small congregations should not need to hire lawyers and sue the government to get an exemption they are entitled to by law. We need to reform the entire process so it works fairly for charitable groups and all taxpayers.”
Lacorte also announced that his proposed 2013/14 budget will come in below Governor Andrew Cuomo’s property tax cap—the second year in a row Suffern has held the line on property taxes.
Lacorte said the entire Board of Trustees keeps a close eye on village spending. State mandated employee health care costs are up 18.2% and mandated pension costs are up 58.9% over three years.
“We don’t pass the buck, we try to save them. I will continue to seek the highest quality of municipal services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer.
Under Lacorte’s administration, debt service costs were reduced while investing over $3 million in sewer upgrades and new infrastructure.