We have received a shock this year with the 2008 budget. It is also a wake-up call. We all, myself, the Town Council, and members of the staff and also the public, had become a bit spoiled, and now we learned that revenues and ratables are falling while expenses keep going up at a faster rate than we realized. It will require tight controls in all areas of the town government. It will also require a fresh look at our operations to see how we can be more efficient and to see what fundamental changes can be made to improve the town’s financial position now and in the future.
As soon as the new Town Board takes office next month, I will ask the Board to create a management committee to review all aspects of our operations. That committee wil be totally non-political. We have in town many executives and company managers and I hope that we will enlist them on this committee. I would expect this committee to do an up and down examination of each department to review systems, work practices, personnel, benefit programs, and the like. We need to know what various programs cost and whether they should be eliminated or scaled back. It will help all of us -- your government and also the public -- to be much smarter about what we do and how we do it. I would expect this committee to report back to the Town Board before the next budget season so that the Town Board has the time to study the recommendations and implement them, if appropriate.
I know that there will be some upset among our staff. However, as I said we have received a wake-up call, and we need to respond. If we do not, the large tax hike next year will be a preview of coming attractions, and we cannot allow that. Taxes can be controlled in several ways, but the principal one is to reduce spending by modernizing our operations and making them more efficient and realistic. If we do not act immediately the town will suffer greatly. This is a major step to prevent this from happening.
Interested in joining the committee? E mail me your bio at email@example.com.
ANOTHER MATTER-- Met with the Library Board tonight. Urged the Board to consider the possibility of becoming an independent Library district. Many libraries around the state are independent of municipal governments. They propose their own budget, voters elect the Library Trustees and approve an annual budget. The Library Board indicated that they will review the proposal after the new Greenburgh library opens --estimated date for library re-opening: October, 2008.