The Greenburgh Town Board approved the 2008 budget by a vote of 3-2 on Wednesday night. Voting for the budget: Supervisor Paul Feiner, Council members Francis Sheehan, Diana Juettner. Voting against the budget: Council members Steve Bass, Eddie Mae Barnes.
The proposed tax hike of 23% for residents of unincorporated Greenburgh was decreased to 19.4%. The town has an A budget (which is paid for by residents of unincorporated Greenburgh and the villages). There will be a 34.4% TAX REDUCTION IN THAT BUDGET. The A budget is very small –there have been major shifts in percentages in the past. Some years there have been big tax hikes –other years tax cuts. The percentages are big. The dollar amount is very small.
HOW DOES THIS TAX HIKE IMPACT YOU FINANCIALLY?
A property owner in unincorporated Greenburgh will see an increase of $348.66 equating to $2140.82 based upon a 15,000 dollar assessed value. REMEMBER: The town portion of your taxes is less than 20% of your entire tax bill.
A property owner in the villages will see a decrease of $31.93 in their tax bill. The average resident of a village will be paying the town $60.83 (sixty dollars and eighty three cents) based upon a $15,000 assessed value. The town provides very few services to the villages –villages have their own municipal governments.
NO ONE WHO VOTED FOR THE 2008 BUDGET IS HAPPY ---WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN THE FUTURE?
1) We need to rely less on fund balance. The goal: Revenues should be closer to expenses.
2) We need to conduct a very comprehensive analysis & management review of all departments. A citizens budget committee and management review committee will be formed in early January to help oversee this review. The first meeting: Thursday, January 10th at 7:15 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall. We need to be open to new ideas re: restructuring the way government operates. I am very pleased that the town and Village of Dobbs Ferry have signed on to a study on sharing some police services.
3) Our budget needs to be more transparent. I believe that much more info about spending and programs should be posted on our web site. Comprehensive information about every program (costs, number of participants, revenues) should also be released to the public and posted on the web site.
4) Before we fund new programs – we should find equivalent cuts to offset the additional costs.
5) We need to look for ways to increase revenues. I am planning to schedule a land use summit on Tuesday January 15th at 7:30 PM at Greenburgh Town Hall.
6) We will aggressively seek additional grants to keep taxes down.
7) We had two consecutive zero percent tax hikes in unincorporated Greenburgh (2006 and 2007). Voters want stability and predictability. In retrospect, we should have had gradual tax hikes each year rather than two years of no tax hikes.