Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner filed the proposed 2019 town budget with the Town Clerk last week. He expects the Town Board will schedule public hearings in November, with the first hearing possibly to be held Nov. 28. A final budget must be approved by Dec. 20.
Feiner called the proposed budget “very similar to last year’s budget,” noting that the 2019 budget again complies with the New York State tax cap, and as a result, Greenburgh taxpayers will receive property tax refund checks from the State.
For the Villages and Unincorporated Greenburgh there is a proposed 1.0% tax rate decrease with total appropriations of $27.1 million, and a modest tax saving for residents.
In Unincorporated Greenburgh there is a proposed tax rate increase of 2.51% with total appropriations of $84.1 million.
In his message to the Town Board, Feiner explained that significant challenges had to be overcome to meet the 2019 tax cap, especially regarding expenses that were outside of the Town’s direct control, including utility costs, medical insurance and Workers Compensation.
Feiner explained that increases in some operating expenses were limited while others were held flat.
He also said that Greenburgh’s Aaa bond rating equates to approximately $300,000 in interest savings for the Town’s recently sold debt. “Our Aaa rating saves us money each time we renew maturing bonds,” Feiner said.
Union contracts expire at the end of this year and Feiner is optimistic that the Town will be able to settle the contracts in the near future. The 2019 budget includes a 2% increase for management and elected officials. “We will continue to utilize attrition to reduce employee costs,” Feiner explained.
He cited cost-saving initiatives, such as switching to LED lights and single-worker sanitation trucks, as effective in keeping expenditures down.
For new expenditures, Feiner has added $50,000 to the proposed budget for Hartsdale 4 Corners follow up. Another $7 million, which will be taken from the fund balance, is budgeted for a new courthouse.
Another $10,000 for assistant historians and $14,000 for summer interns has also been added.
The stock market had a positive impact on the NYS Employee Retirement System (ERS) in 2018 and the NYS Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS). Overall, the retirement liability for the Town has decreased by approximately $300,000 for 2019, Feiner said.
In incremental revenue, the proposed budget estimates $1.2 million in building permit income due to multiple upcoming projects that are being discussed with the Commissioner of Planning and the Building Inspector.
Back taxes, penalties and interest collected this year is $5.8 million to date, according to Feiner. The Town will continue to hold auctions on a regular basis. The Town has collected $1.9 million in auction sales during 2018.