The following is my 2015 budget message. The proposed 2015 budget will be filed with the Town Clerks office today by 5 PM. The entire budget will be posted on line (www.greenburghny.com) by the weekend.
The Town Board has until mid December to make modifications to the proposed budget. Public hearings will be held. Your feedback and thoughts are always welcome and appreciated.
October 30, 2014
Honorable Board Members:
I am pleased to present you with the 2015 proposed budget. This budget complies with the New York State 1.56% tax levy cap.
I am proud of Greenburgh’s ongoing commitment to live within its means, long after many other communities have faltered. Honoring the cap has and will continue to help us stabilize costs and restrain taxes increases.
I am doubly proud that we have been able to maintain our Aaa bond rating (the highest rating possible by Moody's and Standard & Poor's) while continuing to provide the high quality services our residents have come to expect. Only 1% of all localities in the nation have achieved this highest level of financial confidence. Our Aaa rating equates to over $200,000 in interest savings over the life of the debt service.
2015 BUDGET SUMMARY
TOWN WIDE: (villages and unincorporated Greenburgh)
Tax rate increase = 1.75% (some residents might be confused. The tax cap levy that NYS approved uses different calculations than tax rate increases)
Total Appropriations = $17.7 million; up $0.4 million from 2014
Increase in tax for 2015 = $4.09 per $15,000 of assessed value; $238.31 in 2015 vs. $234.22 in 2014
TOWN OUTSIDE: (only unincorporated Greenburgh)
Tax rate increase = 2.58% (A Fund and B Fund combined)
Total Appropriations = $72.0 million; up $1.2 million from 2014
Increase in tax for 2015 = $75.20 per $15,000 of assessed value; $2,984.46 in 2015 vs. $2,909.27 in 2014
Note: The proposed tax rate increase of 1.75% in the Town Wide Budget and 2.58% in the Town Outside Budget pertains to the Town's portion of total property tax collections. 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 the municipal services are provided by the village.
Financial and Operational Management
We began the 2015 budget process this past spring using an even more deliberative and analytical budgeting process, while further stimulating fresh and creative approaches. Working with department heads, we identified new potential productivity increases, cost reductions and revenue enhancements that will allow us to improve our financial strength, while maintaining our high service levels for the community. For example, in 2015 we will again be able to utilize attrition to reduce employee costs. 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 2014.
Controllable Budget Factors
Our 2015 budget efforts provided an additional one million dollars in savings and revenue enhancements for this proposed budget.
We expect the current reassessment project will stabilize the tax base in the future, giving the Town more direct control over changes in property tax rates and greatly curtailing future certiorari awards. Currently, the tax base continues to decline, albeit at a slower rate.
External Budget Factors
The strong stock market had a significant positive impact on the NYS Employee Retirement System (ERS) in 2014 and the NYS Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). The Town will benefit through a projected decline in ERS and PFRS contribution rates for 2015. We expect 2015 ERS to decline by $683,000 from $5,043,302 in 2014 and PFRS to decline by $207,000 from $3,605,597 in 2014. Future year’s pension contribution rates will be subject to the trusts’ investment performance.
Other Town Initiatives
FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE APPROACH TO THE 2015 BUDGET
We have decided to exclude the following three potential revenue sources in keeping with our fiscally conservative approach to budgeting:
The Town Board authorized a town wide real estate revaluation process. Once completed the town should save significant dollars by not having to issue as many tax refunds. We should also be able to reduce legal costs associated with certiorari claims.
Parks and Recreation and the Department of Community Resources will be rolling out a new software product with online capabilities in 2015. In addition to being able to allow residents to enroll in classes and renew memberships from the comfort of their own home, both departments will be able to issue email receipts and send text messages or emails about cancellations. Mail-in and in-person registration will still be available, and all these new services, while not increasing the budget.
A sad note ... Pat Lanza, a longtime supporter of many of our programs passed away in 2014. Her foundation had paid for our entire arts and culture program - a terrific program that had previously been supported by town taxpayers. We are currently in discussions with a foundation to fund the program but no decision has been made by the foundation as of yet. I included in the 2015 budget funding for our arts program. In the event that the town is successful in obtaining a foundation grant for the arts program, the town will be reimbursed for any funds that were paid from taxpayer dollars.
Special thank you to Bart Talamini, Comptroller of the town for his efforts in assisting the town prepare the budget and maintain our Aaa bond rating. And, a thank you to the Town Board members for working hard in overseeing the operations of the town. A final thank you to those citizens of the town who continue to work very hard helping us make your town government responsive and efficient.
In summary, the financial health of the town is good. Because the future holds many uncertainties beyond our control we intend to strengthen our efforts for cost reductions and revenue generation and improved management practices to ensure the continued financial soundness and exemplary services to our citizens.
Visit our web site at www.greenburghny.com and view archived Supervisors Reports.
To unsubscribe to list send an e-mail to:
Please put the following in the body of the e-mail: