2021 budget, as proposed by the Town Supervisor, will be posted on the town website in its entirety. Your comments are welcome and appreciated. The Town Board has until December20th to approve a final budget
TOWN SUPERVISOR’S 2020-21 BUDGET MESSAGE
It has been evident for quite some time that Federal, State and Local governments across every region of our Country are struggling with increased cost and decreased revenue, due to the economic impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic. These extraordinary fiscal factors require municipal leadership to identify every conceivable budgetary option available, as a means of ensuring the safety and comfort of our constituencies, through the continuation of the high level of services which our residents deserve.
At the same time, many of our neighbors have lost their jobs, or have experienced decreases in salary and benefits, as their employers attempt to keep their businesses operating during this extremely difficult period. A simple “drive-by” view of our major retail corridors, Central Ave, Route 119, Saw Mill River Road and others, reflects far too many “For Rent” signs and shuttered stores and restaurants, many which may never reopen.
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE TOWN
How can we best maintain services which residents depend upon, utilizing the funds available, and accomplish this in the most efficient and effective manner? We recognize the hardships many residents are experiencing during this very difficult time and rest assured, we have been, are currently and will continue to work our hardest and smartest to meet both your needs and the Town’s fiscal obligations.
NO INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAX
The budget I will be proposing for 2021 projects no increase in property tax.
It is our expectation that both the 2021 Tax Levy and Tax Rates will remain the same as in 2020. Once again, these actions will place the Town under the NYS “Tax Cap,” providing taxpayers with eligibility for a refund which will be provided by NYS.
Please be advised that for residents of the Unincorporated Town, between 80%-85% of your entire Property Tax bill accrues to School, Fire District and other municipal entities not controlled by the Town, leaving only 15%-20% of your payment accruing to the Unincorporated Town.
For residents of the “Villages,” 98% of your Property Taxes accrue to entities other than the Town.
-TOWN WIDE PROJECTED APPROPRIATION FOR 2021, $33.1MILLION
-TOWN OUTSIDE THE VILLAGES, PROJECTED APPROPRIATION FOR 2021, $88.4 MILLION
NO SALARY INCREASES FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS.
In addition, the budget, as proposed, does not include any salary increases for elected officials.
In most past years, salary increase rates for elected officials mirrored the percentage of those of CSEA Union members. However, I believe it is inappropriate to recommend any increases in these individual’s salaries, including my own, during a crisis in which so many Greenburgh residents are out of work or have diminished income.
WHAT FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO REDUCED REVENUE?
In trying to explain the main fiscal issues which the Town must overcome, it is important to understand the effect the Pandemic has had on specific revenue streams.
- PROPERTY TAX REVENUE: We live in a great Town, with wonderful, responsible residents and property owners. As projected today, it appears that Property Tax Revenue for the Unincorporated Town will be nearly fully collected by year’s end. We thank our residents for their understanding of the needs of and support of the Town.
- SALES TAX REVENUE: The inability of local business to generate sales in a Pandemic is obvious. Not so obvious is the reality that the Sales Tax Revenue generated by purchases within our Town is equally, dramatically affected.
For the Unincorporated Town, the projected shortfall in Sales Tax Revenue for 2020 will be $1,850.000.00. The projection for 2021 will assume reduced revenue as well.
- HOTEL TAX REVENUE: As expected, Hotels and Motels across the Town have had little occupancy and therefore the projected shortfall in Hotel Tax Revenue projected for the Unincorporated Town will be $650,000.00. The projection for 2021 will assume reduced revenue as well.
- TOWN COURT REVENUES: The Town Court generates revenues from fines and charges. These revenues accrue to the A budget, for “The Town Entire”, including the “Villages,” and the effect of closed Courts and fallow Court Chambers is projected to be a $400,000 shortfall. The projection for 2021 will assume reduced revenue as well.
CONSIDERING THE LOSS OF REVENUE, HOW WILL WE COMPLETE THE 2020 FISCAL YEAR WITHOUT AN ENORMOUS DEFICIT?
First, let me take this opportunity to acknowledge and express my appreciation to the employees of our Town, who have selflessly provided services in a qualitative and unabated manner, throughout the entire course of the Pandemic. We have been blessed with a work force which continually places themselves “in harm’s way,” to ensure that all of our families were, are and will continue to be safe. Although regrettably, a number of our employees did contract the Virus, with the majority from our Police and EMS forces, we were so, so fortunate, that we did not lose any of our valued staff to the disease. For this, I am extremely grateful.
Our goal in 2020 has been to provide our full breadth of services, utilizing only the funds we have to spend. I believe we have accomplished this goal and expect that we will complete 2020 without a deficit. The HOW, in how this is being accomplished follows:
- Capital Projects were deferred for future consideration. Each of these Capital Projects will be reconsidered and bid out going forward.
- Early on, we realized the fiscal jeopardy inherent in the Pandemic and placed a “hiring freeze” for all but extremely essential new hires. Prospective hiring will be re-evaluated on a case by case basis and discussed at length prior to approval.
- There were a number of staff retirements during this period and those positions were not filled.
- As a result of the Pandemic, all non capital, major purchasing required re-approval by the Town Board and several contracts were not let.
- The Town utilizes a number of Part-Time Staff, to complete specific functions. Part-Time employment, including “summer help” was limited.
- As many programs were cancelled, or reduced in scope, the concomitant costs for those programs were reduced or eliminated.
WHAT WILL NEED TO BE DONE IN 2021?
The answer to this question is simply, much of the same as in 2020.
Hiring will be limited to essential positions, selected Capital Projects will be deferred, contracts for the purchase of operational items will be scrutinized and deferred where possible and some programs could also be reduced, deferred or cancelled until we feel it is safe and appropriate to go forward.
It is my hope, although I am “not counting on it,” that a future Federal Pandemic Relief Bill may include some support for the State/County, which will “trickle down” to Greenburgh. Should the Town be fortunate enough to be a beneficiary of a portion of this type of funding, it is my hope that such funds may be utilized to bolster “Fund Balances,” which might be reserved for future crises.
Discussions regarding consolidations of functions must be considered and explored and any and all options identified, for increasing revenues and decreasing costs, without impacting the provision of service must be “on the table.” As the economy opens, life as we knew it prior to the Pandemic, will I trust revert back to normal and we as a Town, comprised of wonderful families, working together, will as a community have survived this extraordinary time.
Please keep in mind, we face many of the same financial and operational challenges that the world-wide Pandemic has brought to our Country and the rest of the world. The Council and I began preparing for these uncertainties earlier in the year by deferring expenditures while at the same time drawing needed attention to the needs of larger numbers of our citizens whom we believed would be impacted the hardest.
Fiscal stability is a hallmark of the Town of Greenburgh, thanks to our informed and supportive citizens, the strength of our departmental managers and personnel, and the diverse and long-time experience of our Town Council. We believe that together, we will be fine.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
Town Wide A budget
Tax rate decrease = 1.41%. Decrease in tax for 2021 equals $3.24 per $500,000 of assessed value. $226.31 in 2021 vs $229.55 in 2020.
Town Wide B budget
Tax rate decrease equals 1.16% (A fund and B fund combined) Decrease in tax for 2021 equals $35.85 per $500,000 of assessed value: $3,060.92 in 2021 vs $3,096.77 in 2020
First Public hearing on 2021 Preliminary Budget will be held November 24, 2020 at 7: 30 PM (via zoom) by the Town Board . The Town Board will review the budget and can make changes until December 20th. The budget, in its entirety, will be posted on the town website: www.greenburghny.com