AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Cortlandt Budget Adopted with 2% Tax Increase

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The Cortlandt Town Board unanimously adopted a 2013 budget last week that raises taxes 2% for most residents.

The $36.98 million budget increases spending by 1.4%, the same as this year, and falls under the state mandated 2% tax levy cap.

Supervisor Linda Puglisi proudly stated under her 22-year administration town taxes, which account for 11% of a property owner’s total tax bill, had jumped less than 1%, a record she boasted was unmatched in the region and the state.

“We have proven record of a 22-year tax cap,” Puglisi remarked during a public hearing at Cortlandt Town Hall that was only attended by media. “We try to maintain our services and improve them. Our approach is pay as you go. Every year we try to come up with ideas to be more fiscally responsible.”

To balance the budget, which was virtually unchanged from the package proposed by Puglisi in October, $1.45 million was utilized from the town’s unrestricted fund balance, leaving it with $5.6 million. Cortlandt used $50,000 more from the same reserves this year.

In terms of town debt, Cortlandt, which has a solid AA bond rating from Moody’s, has $10.2 million but has the ability to borrow $439 million.

“I have insisted over the years of my administration to either have no town tax increase or as close to zero as possible by finding other ways to collect revenue (grants, other sources of government funding, consolidations, sharing services, fiscal discipline and efficiency),” Puglisi said.

With the 2% tax hike, the average taxpayer in Cortlandt will pay $33 more in town taxes next year. In Croton, where town taxes will rise 3.5%, residents will pay $7 more, while in Buchanan, where town taxes will increase 2.8%, residents will pay less than $5 in additional taxes.

The only part of the budget unresolved is potential salary increases for the majority of Cortlandt’s 167 employees since union contracts for 2012 and 2013 still have not been finalized.


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