GovernmentThe Examiner

Minimal Tax Increase Proposed in Pleasantville’s $22.4M Budget

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Pleasantville residents would see a tax rate increase of less than 1 percent for the upcoming fiscal year in the village’s proposed $22.4 million budget for 2021-22.

Village Administrator Eric Morrissey reviewed the spending plan before the Village Board last Monday. The proposed budget would entail a modest .83 percent tax rate hike, which is about a $30 increase for the average single-family homeowner.

The proposed levy is tax cap compliant – $307,485 under the cap.

The budget presentation focused mainly on the general fund, the largest portion of the village budget, at about $16.5 million. Of that, $11,885,000 will be collected through the property tax levy. There is $539,000 that is expected to be taken from surplus, with just over $4 million coming from other revenue sources, including parking and recreation program fees, mortgage tax and county sales tax.

Morrissey said the county sales tax has been a big question mark during the current fiscal year. Despite COVID-19 impacting various revenue lines, Pleasantville did collect nearly $1.4 million in sales tax revenue in the 2019-20 budget, although the last two-and-a-half months included the pandemic. As of last month, the village had collected almost $790,000 in sales tax revenue, just below the budgeted $800,000 for the current fiscal year.

The projected amount of county sales tax for 2021-22 is $1 million.

“We feel that’s a conservative estimate,” said Morrissey. “That will make up about a quarter of the non-real estate tax revenue generated in the budget.”

The budget proposes about $1.9 million for village government support, administration and department positions, assorted services, including the justice court, liability insurance, small claims and tax certioraris. Morrissey said the $1.9 million is about a $50,000 decrease from the current year due to a projected decline in tax certioraris.

Another $3.9 million is being allocated to public safety, which includes building code enforcement, police patrol, crossing guards, detective divisions and parking enforcement. Last year’s budget included the hiring of one additional officer but the position was never filled because of fiscal uncertainties.

Morrissey said that the village recently received approval from the county Human Resources Department to hire two new officers in the near future. This will raise next year’s allocation for uniformed officers to $1.8 million.

Department of Public Works funding is expected to remain at $1.5 million for the upcoming year. There will be significant upgrades at the Clinton Street Senior Center, including installation of an emergency generator and replacing the compressor for a walk-in refrigerator, costing about $460,000. Those costs will be offset by money from a Community Development Block Grant, Morrissey said.

Village parks, recreation and library saw a decrease of about $500,000 due to COVID restrictions. The total amount from the proposed budget allocated for these departments is $2.8 million. The Panther Club is set to receive $441,960; the amount has been rolled back because of expected COVID-19-related restrictions. Projections are the village will lose money on its day camp because of restrictions on enrollment. About $202,000 is being allocated to the camp.

The village refuse fund is $418,004 with the current rate for a single-family unit of $479.67 to be increased to $481.12. The proposed budget for the water fund is $3.6 million. Water rates will remain the same for village residents as will the non-residents’ district rate and non-resident out-of-district rate. There will be a separate bulk rate for Pace University.

Employee benefits are estimated to consume about $4.5 million, which includes pension contributions, social security, Medicare, workers compensation, unemployment and health insurance. Capital planning and equipment includes road resurfacing at $200,000, $50,000 on sidewalks and a new sanitation truck costing about $85,000.

The village has realized a significant reduction in parking revenues, standing at about $259,000 last month, below the budgeted $413,000 for the current fiscal year but that didn’t seem to make a huge impact on village funds. It is budgeting $289,600 in parking revenues for 2021-22.

“To say this has been a challenging year from a budget perspective is an understatement,” Morrissey said. “We are still realizing the impacts of COVID. Overall, the village fared very well when looking comparatively at other municipalities in Westchester. It’s because we are not reliant on any one revenue source outside of our real estate taxes.”

Also, village property owners made investments, which saw building permit fees increase about $200,000. That number includes fees from the 70 Memorial Plaza development under construction and the approved residential project at 52 Depew St.

Pleasantville is to receive about $800,000 in American Rescue Plan funds from the federal government to be received in two separate installments.

A public hearing for the tentative 2021-22 budget is scheduled for next Monday, Apr. 12 at 8 p.m.

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