Budgets for 2019 were adopted by boards in four local municipalities recently.
In Yorktown, a $58.6 million budget with a 2.5% tax hike for residents was approved unanimously last week. Spending increased by $1.2 million from this year.
Supervisor Ilan Gilbert described the first budget he oversaw as a “reasonable fiscal plan” that came in below the state-imposed tax levy cap.
“My goal is to get Yorktown’s house in order but also be ever conscious of our limited resources,” Gilbert said. “This budget is part of a bipartisan effort by the Town Board.”
“Our priorities have been safety, security and quality of life in Yorktown,” Councilman Ed Lachterman said. “It’s a balancing act. We need to do what’s right for the town. My job is not to make everyone happy. My job is to do what’s right for the Town of Yorktown.”
Gilbert said town officials had aging infrastructure needs to tackle that take priority over relocating the highway garage, a proposal his predecessor, Michael Grace, continues to lobby for.
“In a perfect world the town should consider a new highway garage,” Gilbert said. “We have more immediate and pressing needs
In Cortlandt, the Town Board adopted a budget that will raise taxes for most residents under $2.
“The Town of Cortlandt is in excellent financial shape with the continuation of our very low town tax record,” said Supervisor Linda Puglisi, who has been in office since 1992. “We have very low debt, only .83 of what Moody’s states the town could borrow $370 million. Our debt is mostly water related projects such as new water storage tanks and equates to $5 million, lower than when I began as Supervisor in 1992.
“Also, we always have a budget surplus, never a deficit and have completed over $150 million dollars in capital projects over the years: infrastructure, recreational, etc.,” she added.
In Somers, the Town Board voted unanimously on December 13 to approve the $9.2 million 2019 general fund budget, which will increase property taxes by two percent and meet the state-mandated cap.
The budget will increase town property taxes on the average assessed home in Somers by $16 next year.
In his original budget, Supervisor Rick Morrissey proposed a property tax increase of 2.9 percent. Earlier this month the Town Board agreed to use more of the fund balance than he originally sought to hold down the tax hike.
“I just want to commend the department heads and the Town Board and our Finance Director Robert Kehoe for all the hard work,” Morrissey said.
Councilman Richard Clinchy said some department heads begin working on their portions of the budget in August every year, projecting revenue for months in advance.
In the Village of Ossining, Mayor Victoria Gearity said for the third year in a row the village budget carried a 0% tax rate increase for residents.
“Thank you to my colleagues on this board and past boards for the fiscally conservative practices that have enabled us to hold the line on the village tax rate. Thank you to the village management and staff who work diligently throughout the year to make smart decisions that keep us on budget,” Gearity stated.
“Just like a household budget, there are two ways to manage growing expenses—increase revenue or decrease costs. The key to success is focusing on both sides of that equation. The 2019 focus on economic development and updating the comprehensive plan sets a long-term blueprint for our community that can increase revenue through commercial investment that will alleviate the burden on residential tax payers,” she added.
Neal Rentz contributed to this article