Government

Proposed Budget Will Not Raise Taxes

df7fc051135f9d2f2fe7_55468_.jpg
The chart looks at tax rate increases in Carmel over the past 10 years. Credits: Courtesy of Carmel comptroller's office
df7fc051135f9d2f2fe7_55468_.jpg

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— The tentative 2018 town budget presented by Supervisor Ken Schmitt last week calls for a 0 percent increase in the tax rate.

The $44.2 million spending package—$28.5 million of which belongs to the highway and general budgets and approximately $15 million to special districts such as water, sewer and fire—also stayed under the state-mandated property tax levy cap.

“The budget is based on months of preparation and collaboration between myself, town comptroller Mary Ann Maxwell, the managers of the various town departments, as well as other elected officials,” Schmitt said in his budget message. “[Maxwell] and I worked for many days and hours examining every single line item in the budget.”

Sign Up for E-News

The state’s tax cap law requires that a tax levy increase (the amount of money collected by taxes) cannot exceed 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lowest. The rate of inflation—and this year’s tax cap—is 1.84 percent.

“I am pleased to report to you that my [tentative budget] achieves this mandate,” Schmitt said.

Last year’s tax cap was .68 percent.

“So, we did have a little bit more room to work with this year,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell explained that due to a retired capital debt from 2015, the town was able to carry over $519,630 from last year’s budget. The maximum allowable levy in dollars had been $753,883, but the town was allowed to add the $591,630 for a total allowable tax levy increase of slightly more than $1.2 million. The 2018 tentative levy increase is $927,941, keeping it under the $1.2 million tax cap by $327,572.

Schmitt said it was the first time in his tenure as supervisor that the town was able to achieve a 0 percent increase in the tax rate.

“We were able to accomplish something I haven’t been able to do in nine years,” he said. “When I started, we were in a difficult economic recession and we had some rough budget years.”

For the average homeowner whose property is assessed at $347,000, the townwide 2018 tentative budget (general and highway) would call for a tax payment of approximately $1,711, which is a zero-dollar increase from last year, according to Maxwell.

Maxwell said the biggest expenditures in this year’s proposed budget are, as usual, employee compensation and health benefit costs. Of the $28.5 million in townwide expenditures (excluding special districts), $20.5 million is budgeted for those costs—approximately 71.9 percent of total expenditures.

Some of the budget drivers and highlights for the 2018 tentative budget, as laid out by Maxwell, include:

• Health insurance costs have risen as much as 12 percent.

• Salaries/benefits increased as a result of PBA and Lieutenants Union contract settlements. Two new full-time positions are being funded by the 2018 budget.

• Police overtime has increased by $100,000.

• Revenues have increased by 6.5 percent from last year, which helped keep the tax rate increase low. For example, employee health insurance contributions increased by $65,000, thanks to contract settlements; cable franchise fees increased $50,000.

• $70,000 is budgeted for technology upgrades and a fund has been established for a future purchase of data imaging equipment.

• $700,000 is budgeted for snow materials in the highway fund, the same as last year. The budget also calls for $150,000 for capital machinery in an attempt to avoid borrowing.

As part of the tentative budget presentation, Schmitt and Maxwell noted on Sept. 20 the town was reviewed by Moody’s Investors Service, which affirmed the town’s Aa1 rating.

“The review analyst noted that Carmel is very well-managed and finances are strong, which is expected of the Aa1 category,” Schmitt said in his budget message. “We are the only town in Putnam County to have that rating. We are very pleased with that.”

When the town was struggling in 2011 in the wake of the recession, it used a significant amount of its fund balance to keep taxes low, but that resulted in Moody’s giving it a “negative outlook.” Townwide fund balances deteriorated substantially from 2007 to 2011, Maxwell noted in her presentation, but then increased to a 10-year high by 2016 at $8.6 million, resulting in the Aa1 rating.

The tentative budget will now be examined by the Town Board, which can recommend tweaks and changes. At that point, the tentative budget becomes known as the preliminary budget, which is scheduled to be adopted at the board’s Oct. 18 meeting. A public hearing on the budget, including the contracts for the fire districts, is slated for Nov. 8. The board will then vote on the spending package at its Nov. 15 meeting. The state-imposed deadline for submission is Nov. 20.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Seen Any Good Ol’ Movies Lately?

As I become more, uh, mature, I find myself enjoying older movies more than newer movies. The trio of films presented here for your consideration are three of my all-time favorites. They share great stories, great screenplays, great directing, great acting. They also have in common ratings in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place of distinction in the National Film Registry, a highly selective ...

Privacy? LOL!

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about how Facebook fans are shocked—shocked!—that their privacy has been compromised, prompting them to rise up and exhort oppressed social media users everywhere to ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Tipping the Scales in My Favor

As I was settling into bed one night, I happened to catch my husband out of the corner of my eye.

He was getting on the scale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled at him. He jerked his head around and looked at me with alarm.

“What? I’m weighing myself.”

I jumped out of bed and yanked him off the scale. 

“You can’t do that now!” I ...

Doing Time in the Big House

“So, what did the doctor say about Dad?” I asked my mom over the phone.

“He has an incarcerated hernia,” she replied.

“INCARCERATED hernia?” I repeated.

“Yes.”

“Why is it incarcerated? Did it rob a bank?”

“What? No.”

“Unlawful entry? Obstruction? Insider trading?” I ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Sun, May 20

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park , Yorktown Heights

2nd Annual Northwell Health Walk at Westchester

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Mahopac

College Admission Webinar

Education

Houlihan Lawrence in Yorktown Welcomes Three New Team Members

April 10, 2018

Zef Camaj, brokerage manager, recently welcomed three salespersons to the team.

Marco Nogueras is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional who uses technologically advanced marketing techniques bringing the real estate experience to a new level. He values customer service and will ensure your goals are met while keeping you updated on current market conditions. Marco has spent the majority ...