The Examiner

New Castle Tentative Budget Proposes 2.6% Tax Hike for Next Year

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The Town of New Castle recently released a $23.8 million tentative budget for 2014 carrying a proposed tax rate increase of 2.59 percent and a tax levy hike that is within the state mandated cap.

The spending represents the combined general and highway department budgets–about $19.7 million for the general budget and a little more than $4.1 million for highway.

A tax levy increase of 2.02 percent would be triggered under the current proposal, said Town Administrator Penny Paderewski. While the statewide levy cap is 1.66 percent this year, municipalities are allowed an allowance under a growth factor formula that takes into account new construction and an increase in accessibles.

“I believe the 2014 tentative budget provides the necessary resources so that we can continue to provide quality services to our residents at an affordable price,” Paderewski wrote in her budget message to the town board.

Although the proposed tax rate increase is similar to last year’s 2.65 percent, there is no use of general fund balance, which is projected to stand at $1,331,016, about 8 percent of the general fund, Paderewski said. Officials are aiming to eventually restore the fund balance to about 15 percent.

The board began its deliberations on the spending plan on Oct. 15, speaking to various department heads.

There are no significant changes to the town’s staffing level after 19 positions were eliminated over the past three years. Police Chief Charles Ferry said in a report to the board that a sergeant is retiring. His slot will be filled by the promotion of an existing officer and the town is expected to hire a new officer, Paderewski said. The department will maintain 37 officers.

Aside from rebuilding fund balance, the town is also gearing up to begin three significant capital projects next year. Those are the infrastructure repairs to downtown Chappaqua, a sidewalk for Millwood and start of construction of the three sewer projects.

Recreation & Parks Superintendent Robert Snyder appealed to the board to replace a recreation supervisor who departed last year. That employee’s responsibility was to run the town camps, the biggest money maker for the department, Snyder said. Four full-time staff members in the department have now left the town in the past three years.

“A reduction of this staff member I think drastically reduces our ability to put together a quality recreation program,” he said.

A public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 26 with budget adoption anticipated for Dec. 17.






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