The Northern Westchester Examiner

Grace Proposes No Tax Increase in 2017 Yorktown Budget

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Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace
Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace

Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace unveiled his proposed 2017 budget with no tax increase Friday at Town Hall.

The $55.9 million budget is down $2 million from this year and falls under the state mandated 2% tax cap.

“It’s all very good news as far as I’m concerned,” Grace said during a lightly attended press conference. “We’ve had some very good luck, but it’s not all luck. It takes some skill. We’re very proud of what we accomplished. Things are looking good for Yorktown.”

As of the end of last year, Yorktown had an unrestricted fund balance of $7 million. The town has an additional $2.9 million available in accounts that can only be used for specific purposes. In the 2017 budget, Grace utilized $925,000 from fund balance, the same amount used this year. Included in the town’s fund balance is $1.5 million that Yorktown received from Spectra to allow the gas pipeline to pass through.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of what we wanted to under the capital budget,” Grace maintained. “We’ve done all these things and we still have a healthy fund balance. This is accomplished by all of us, by teamwork, and doing more with less. The philosophy is to make government smaller and effective.”

“I think we have done a marvelous job addressing a lot of our infrastructure needs,” Grace explained. “There’s always a balancing act. We’re trying to be as frugal as we can while getting things done. I’m sure there are things you can nitpick, but we have done an incredible job.”

Former supervisor and councilwoman Susan Siegel attended the announcement and said Grace was painting a rosier picture for the town than what the actual figures show.

“For town tax, meaning without special districts, contrary to what he says, they haven’t been     stable or flat. Up, down, up, down,” she said, arguing Grace was relying on fund balance from the general fund to stay within the 2% tax levy cap.

“As I’ve been saying, he’s addicted to using fund balance because of the tax levy,” Siegel said. “If he didn’t use fund balance, he’d have to cut expenses or exceed (the) cap. The fact that he doesn’t end up using fund balance at the end of the year is because either doesn’t spend what he budgeted – like the phony positions he doesn’t fill, deputy comptroller, secretary in his office, etc., or postpones expenses.”

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