Orangetown Board To Vote on Tax Cap Override

The Orangetown Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding an amendment to town law that would allow the council to exceed the state-mandated tax cap with its 2013 budget.

Members Orangetown Town Board showed little optimism that they would be able to keep their tax levy increase below the state-mandated two percent tax cap for the 2013 budget.

Supervisor Andy Stewart presented a tentative budget in September that would include a 9.19% increase, though he and the members of the board expect to get it lower than that. 

The town board is targeting Nov. 7 to adopt the 2013 budget, but the councilmen would have to pass an amendment to the town code to allow themselves to approve a budget that exceeds the cap first. The board set a public hearing to discuss such a measure for 8 p.m. Tuesday as part of this week's regular meeting.

One year ago, then Orangetown Supervisor Paul Whalen's tentative budget also called for a tax levy increase that was above the state-mandated cap. , with Whalen and Councilman Tom Diviny and joining then outgoing Councilman Michael Maturo in voting against it. That left the board scrambling to get under the cap at the last minute, which is why the public hearing is being held earlier this year.

Just over a dozen residents spoke out against exceeding the cap at that meeting, so similar comments could be part of Tuesday's meeting. Councilman Denis Troy voted for the amendment that would allow the board to go over the cap a year ago and has said he still thinks the council needs to at least give itself the option. During budget discussions, no members of the board have publicly said they would oppose the override. 

The full agenda for Tuesday's meeting is attached to this report. Among other items on the agenda will be a discussion of the proposed Blauvelt Fire District budget for 2013. 

marie October 23, 2012 at 01:32 PM
If I went to my boss and said "I spent too much money, so give me a 9.19% raise", he would laugh in my face. As a taxpayer I am saying to the Town Council "do what I voted you to do, lower my taxes". I see very little construction going on in Orangetown, maybe its time to overhaul (reduce) the building department. I've been to the other town offices and I see many people sitting at desks chatting away, leaving me to think that they haven't enough work, so maybe there is cost savings there. The toughest part of any employers job is laying people off, but sometimes it is necessary. Orangetown Town Board, it is necessary to make the unpleasant cuts and it is time to take a strong stand on employment contracts.
Ryan Buncher October 23, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Thank you for commenting, marie. I am curious what areas Orangetown residents would like to see cuts, which would be necessary to significantly cut the tax increase.
Neill October 23, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Before the town votes to override the tax cap surely it has an obligation to bring forth a budget that is below the tax cap. Clearly such a budget would involve severe cuts but don't the public have a right to know what those cuts would be and to give their opinion in a public meeting as to whether these cuts are acceptable or not. The PBA and the CSEA are out of control. Before I agree to an override of the tax cap I want to see cuts made in these two areas. Maybe the public will accept the severe cuts and remain under the tax cap. But the Board owes us some options. Where are the options spelled out with details?
Harvey Cedars October 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM
I agree with Neill. Show us what cuts would have to occur to get under 2% and then see if the public wants to okay you going over 2%. If you want specific ideas, furlough all admin type personnell within sewer, highway, parks, and town hall as much as the csea contract will allow. For better or worse, the school taxes are a much bigger cost to the Orangetown property owners
Mike October 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I think most residents are not expecting the financial crisis in the Town to be fixed in one budget cycle. I do think they want to see a comprehensive 3-5 year plan that slows spending and reduces expenses to make them in line with realistic revenue projections. Furthermore, I believe most residents can accept the pain of higher taxes and less services as long as they see SHARED pain; meaning we need to see salary and benefit adjustments for town workers, perhaps consolidations of departments and further cost cutting measures. Since payroll is perhaps the biggest expense line item, can we look at treating new hires and those with minimal years of service differently in terms of pensions and salary? For example, in the private sector many corporations went to a defined pension plan a few years ago which saves lots of money. Further health and welfare costs may need to be shared at a higher percent by employees in future. Bottom line is we all need to compromise and develop a comprehensive and strategically sound plan to get out of this mess. It simply is not going to happen in 1 budget cycle.


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