Tentative Town Budget Calls for 1.6% Tax Hike

Comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell explains the 2017 tentative budget during the Oct. 5 Town Board meeting. Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The tentative Carmel town budget comes in under the state-imposed tax levy cap, while calling for 1.6 percent increase in the tax rate.

Supervisor Ken Schmitt presented the tentative budget at last week’s Town Board meeting.

“We have a very responsible budget,” Schmitt said. “It is very tight, but very responsible.”

Sign Up for E-News

Town Comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell laid out the details of the budget, a $27.1 million spending package, in a PowerPoint presentation.

Maxwell said the average assessed home, which is $204,940, would have a tax bill of about $1,711, up $26 from last year. The tax rate would be at 8.35 percent, a 1.6 percent increase from 2016’s budget. It is, the comptroller noted, the lowest tax rate increase in the past 10 years.

The state-mandated tax cap, which was implemented in 2011, is 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lowest. As Maxwell pointed out, .68 percent is the current rate of inflation, so that becomes this year’s cap. That .68 cap equates to the maximum allowed tax levy increase of $348,766 in the Carmel budget. But due to some retired capital debt, the town has an available carryover from 2016 to 2017 of $527,503. When added to the $348,766, there is a total allowable tax levy increase of $876,269. The proposed 2017 tax levy increase is $353,036, which is under Carmel’s allowable tax cap ($876,269) by $523,233.

“That’s in part due to good financial planning and an available carryover from a retired capital debt,” Maxwell said.

Of the $27.1 million in expenditures, approximately $19.3 million is budgeted for employee compensation and benefit costs, about 71.3 percent of the total budget.

Breaking the budget down further: public safety (police, traffic control, code enforcement, etc.) costs come to $9.4 million (34.7 percent of the budget); transportation/highway costs (highway administration, garage, highway fund) are at $8.1 million (29.7 percent), and general government expenditures (town departments, info tech, insurance, etc.) tally $5.7 million (21.2 percent).

Other budget highlights include:
•    Health insurance costs continue to increase. The tentative budget looks for an 11 percent increase.
•    Workers comp rates are estimated to increase 6.5 percent over last year
•    Mortgage tax revenue continues to show signs of improvement; $800,000 has been budgeted for 2017, up $100,000 from last year, but Maxwell said it’s possible it could reach $900,000.
•    Employee benefit contributions have increased by $165,000 due to union contract settlements.
•    Court fees rose by $50,000.
•    Building permits, licenses etc. increased by $20,000.

Maxwell noted that total revenues increased by 8 percent, which helped keep the tax rate increase lower.

Also of interest is that the contracts for the town’s fire departments and ambulance corps will be presented during a public hearing on Nov. 2, much earlier than usual—a change precipitated by last year’s Mahopac Fire Department embezzlement scandal.

Last year’s Mahopac Fire Department (fire protection district no. 2) contract was originally for $1.75 million but was reduced to $1.2 million in the wake of the embezzlement discovery. This year’s contract remains flat, once again calling for $1.2 million in appropriations.

The Mahopac Falls Fire Department (fire protection district no. 1) contract is for $753,460; the Carmel Volunteer Fire Department (fire protection district no 3) contract is for $707,000; Carmel Volunteer Ambulance Corps is for $110,000; North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps is at $12,800.

In his tentative budget message, Schmitt said that the budget is the result of many months of preparation and collaboration between himself and Maxwell.

“The town comptroller and I worked for many days examining every single line item in the budget, reviewing it multiple times,” he said. “Expenses and revenues were reviewed and carefully considered.”

Schmitt noted that the tentative budget is still subject to review and change via recommendations from the Town Board. After the review, it becomes a “preliminary” budget, which is slated to be adopted by the Town Board at its Oct. 19 meeting. A public hearing for that preliminary budget is scheduled for Nov. 2. The public hearing for the fire and ambulance contracts will be held on that same date.

A vote on the final budget is slated for the Nov. 16, four days ahead of the state’s Nov. 20 deadline.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

The State of the Democratic Party

Last week, President Trump gave his first State of the Union address. Here are a few things he pointed out:

• Since the election, 2.4 million new jobs have been created.

• Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low.

• African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.

• Hispanic-American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in ...

Beautiful, 'Clean' Coal

After completing his first full year in office—an alarming year, at that— Donald Trump has concluded that climate change is not a significant national threat and that the sacred lands and waters of this country should be sold to the highest bidder. 

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement; deregulated national landmarks; freed public lands for ...

Multigrain, Please

I have no craving for white bread; it’s too plain, predictable and tasteless for me. I hunger for a chunk of multigrain or rye, maybe even a good-sized piece of pumpernickel raisin, with a schmear of cream cheese on the side.

I have no appetite for bland, clean-cut, middle-of-the-road, isolationist politics. And I find unsettling the cultural sameness, gross consumerism and incurious ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

Peekskill AIMs to Become a 'Mediapolis'

What could the city of Peekskill possibly have in common with Silicon Valley, Hollywood and New York City? Like those familiar centers of multimedia creativity and commerce, the historic river town is downright giddy with excitement about transforming itself into a mediapolis, to coin a phrase.

Thanks to local movers and shakers, led by prominent Peekskill businessman Ben Green, the ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

“What happened to your ankle?” asked my neighbor when he saw the orthopedic boot on my right foot.

“I tripped while I was in Pamplona running with the bulls,” I told him.

He raised his eyebrows. “Really?”

“No. Not really,” I admitted. “I was actually climbing Machu Picchu and I fell over a llama.”

“Seriously?” he ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Wed, February 28, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Bazzo Needs to Get His Facts Straight

February 15, 2018

To the editor,

Once again Mr. Bazzo, in his Feb. 8, column cherry picks facts, ignores other facts, passes along lies and spins so fast to the right that it’s amazing he doesn’t drill himself into the earth.

Bazzo is correct—the economy is doing well, and we should give credit where credit is due. Thank you, President Obama for taking the economy from the brink of another ...