Every year since I took office as Town Supervisor the Police Chief and I patrol the streets of Greenburgh on halloween night. When I first assumed office Halloween was a dangerous night--lots of mischief, property damage and problems. Former Police Chief John Kapica assigned many police to patrol every section of town and to give special attention to areas that experienced problems in the past.
If you have experienced any kind of mischief and would like the Chief and I to stop by sometime tomorrow evening please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address. We plan to start our patrols shortly after 7:30 PM.
During the past few years we have had few problems. We want to keep it that way. My e mail is email@example.com
I have filed my proposed 2018 budget with the Town Clerk. The budget, as proposed in its entirety, should be on line (www.greenburghny.com) later today. The Town Board will schedule public hearings later in November and December and will approve or modify the proposed budget by December 20, 2017. I am happy to meet with individuals or civic groups between now and the time a budget is approved by the Town Board to discuss the proposed budget and will respond to e mail questions. My e mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are highlights from my proposed budget.
The Greenburgh Town Board does not control how most of your tax dollars are spent. For residents of unincorporated Greenburgh over 80% of your property taxes go to your school district, fire department and Westchester County. For residents of the Villages, about 98% of your property taxes go to entities other than the town. Most of your municipal services are provided by your village.
2018 TOWN OF GREENBURGH PROPOSED BUDGET SUMMARY
The 2018 Budget again complies with the New York State tax cap. As a result, Greenburgh taxpayers will receive property tax refund checks from the State (given to taxpayers who live in communities that comply with the cap).
TOWN WIDE: (Villages and Unincorporated Greenburgh)
2018 Tax Rate Increase: 2.6%
Total Appropriations: $18,790,185 million;
A taxpayer that paid $236.38 in 2017 will pay approximately $242.60 in 2018
TOWN OUTSIDE: (Unincorporated Greenburgh Only)
Tax Rate Increase: 2.8 % (A Fund and B Fund combined)
Total Appropriations: $ 76,397,631 million;
A taxpayer that paid $ 3,048.71 in 2017 will pay approximately $ 3,133.25 in 2018
I am pleased to propose a budget that will continue our perfect record in complying with the New York State Tax Cap. This demonstrates our continuing commitment to keep Greenburgh a great and affordable place to live.
GREENBURGH TAX PAYERS WILL RECEIVE A STATE REBATE CHECK
New York State rewards our taxpayers with additional tax rebates based on Greenburgh’s cost-containment success. The refund check will offset, in part, the tax hikes. There are other government entities within Westchester and New York State that have overruled the tax cap over the years. The Greenburgh Town Board has never overruled the tax cap since its inception.
We overcame significant challenges to meet the 2018 tax cap, especially regarding expenses that are outside of our direct control. Examples include Utility costs, Medical Insurance and Workers Compensation. Honoring the cap has and will continue to help us stabilize costs and restrain tax increases.
We will meet 2018 fiscal challenges by limiting increases in certain operating expenses, holding some expenditures flat year-over-year and by reducing spending where practical. Once again our department heads responded to our challenge for new ways to do more with less. We are able to strengthen Town finances and maintain Greenburgh’s high quality of life as our efficiency initiatives come to fruition and by restraining the filling of vacancies. In 2018, for example, we reduce the number of employees in our Purchasing department from two to one employees. In recent years—thanks to the new sanitation truck which uses an automatic hand to pick up garbage- we reduced the workforce by seven employees (via attrition).
I am doubly proud that we have again achieved a Aaa bond rating this year (the highest rating possible by Moody's and Standard & Poor's). Only 1% of all localities in the nation have achieved this highest level of financial confidence. Our Aaa rating equates to approximately $300,000 in interest savings for our recently sold debt. Our Aaa rating saves us money each time we renew maturing bonds.
During my tenure as Town Supervisor, the Town’s bond rating has increased several times. The Town has attained Aaa ratings every year since 2008. During this time many other local, county, state and national governments have seen their bond ratings decrease. We are proud that we continue to manage a fiscally prudent government and have maintained the highest rating possible.
I ask once again for your help in preserving our Town’s fiscal strength and keeping Greenburgh a great place to live.
2018 GREENBURGH BUDGET AND OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS
How We Did It
We began the 2018 budget process by identifying new potential productivity increases, cost reductions and revenue enhancements that will us to improve our financial strength, while maintaining our high service levels. We are implementing new management controls, which will allow better use of our existing resources and improve control over expenditures versus budget. We have kept departmental costs as flat as possible versus 2017.
For example, we have settled contracts with our unions, holding salary increases to around 2% annually. We are continuing to utilize attrition to reduce employee costs. When employees retire we do not always replace them immediately. We are also enjoying the benefits of our initiatives, which continue to grow. Switching to LED has permanently reduced our electrical lighting expenditures. The single-worker sanitation trucks and other recent initiatives are making the Sanitation Department increasingly efficient each new year. Finding and adapting these and other new technologies is ingrained within the culture of Greenburgh government, which drives ongoing improvements in the effectiveness of our operations.
The stock market had a positive impact on the NYS Employee Retirement System (ERS) in 2018 and the NYS Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). Declines in the 2018 ERS and PFRS retirement cost rates were able to partially offset the effects of salary increases. Overall, the retirement liability for the Town has increased by less than approximately $100,000 for 2018.
• REGENERON: The budget anticipates an additional $1.5 million in 2018 from Regeneron's expansion.
• Hotel Tax: This adds an estimated $1.0 million to revenues.
We expect the reassessment project will help stabilize our tax base, enhance the Town’s ability to manage property tax rates and greatly curtail future certiorari awards. These benefits will become most apparent within the next couple of years.
Other Town Initiatives
• The Town Board has adopted a Comprehensive Plan to manage the growth and development of the Town of Greenburgh, both commercially and residentially. Among our goals is to help attract and keep businesses in the Town, thereby improving our tax base.
• The Water District continues to address infrastructure needs and develop a long-term strategic plan.
• In 2018, we expect to implement tax-saving health and safety initiatives. This is based on a review of the Department of Public Works and recommendations of a dedicated volunteer committee.
• To ensure that our operations are on the cutting edge of technology, we are establishing a Citizens Technology Advisory Committee to work collaboratively with the Town to help create new technology initiatives and improve the Town’s operations and efficiency.
• We will continue to work with the school districts and villages within the Town for opportunities to share services and save taxpayer dollars
• The Town received over $5,000,000 in grants within the past year for water infrastructure improvements and sidewalks. This was the result of our ongoing, aggressive efforts to secure grants for Greenburgh.
• Efforts to collect back taxes have been effective. The Town will continue to hold auctions on a regular basis.
In summary, the financial health of our Town is solid. Because the future holds many uncertainties beyond our control, we must redouble our efforts to reduce costs, increase revenue and improve our management practices to ensure our continued financial soundness and provision of exemplary services to our citizens.
Note: A special thank you to Roberta Romano, Comptroller of the Town for her efforts in preparing the budget and helping maintain our Aaa bond rating. Also, a big thank you to the Town Board members who work so hard in overseeing the operations of the Town and are essential to our continued fiscal strength. Lastly, thank you to our employees and citizen volunteers of the Town who continue to work hard helping us make your Town government responsive and efficient.