P’ville Begins Discussions on $13.3M Village Budget

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Mayor Peter Scherer
The Village of Pleasantville unveiled its 2012 2013 budget last Monday Mayor Peter Scherer believes that the village will pass a budget under the state mandated tax cap

Pleasantville Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer officially presented the municipality’s proposed $13.3 million 2012-13 to the village board last week that would raise taxes 2.87 percent.

Under the current proposal, the hike would translate into a $100 increase for the average homeowner. The increase adheres to the state mandated 2 percent property tax cap.

The biggest departmental expense is about $3.1 million for public safety, which includes the police department. The village will also be spending about $1,570,000 on government support and $1.8 million on the Department of Public Works.

Dwyer said Pleasantville is facing potentially costly tax certioraris, which reduces the village’s tax base, as well as rising pension and health care expenses. The village is operating under an expired contract with the police union and the CSEA’s contract is about to expire.

“The noose gets tighter every year,” Mayor Peter Scherer said. “What are you going to chop out? What we’re doing is efficient. There are no big opportunities left for significant savings.”

After the board of trustees April 9 meeting, Scherer said some expenses had been trimmed by going line by line in the budget.

“It’s nothing major,” Scherer said. “It gives us a little more breathing room.”

He said Pleasantville would continue to assess the water fund and eventually determine what the long-term plan for that fund should be. The village is anticipating raising rates due to New York City increasing its water costs.

“The system is in great shape and we are fortunate to have good water,” Scherer said. “We will try to avoid rate increases. The nice thing about the water fund is that it’s a very well defined business enterprise with well-known costs. It’s relatively easy.”

Dwyer told trustees that the village treasurer and attorney have recommended the board vote to override the tax cap as a precaution in case revenue projections fall short. If the board decides to go ahead with a resolution, it does not mean the officials would exceed the cap.

“We have to discuss that further,” Scherer said. “That is not my first choice. The idea that we need to override it even if our budget is within the cap to protect us from a state penalty, well that’s a through-the-looking-glass experience with Albany. Our intention is to live within it, but we don’t want to expose the village or taxpayer to a penalty.”

Trustee Mindy Berard said she has met with several department heads and found their budgets to be flat.

“The department heads have been doing a great job,” Berard said. “It’s an ongoing process and we look at the process very seriously.”

Berard said she is against a proposal to buy a new police car, but favors the recommendation to override the cap.

The budget raises $9.4 million from taxes, about 72 percent of the village’s revenue and an increase from $9.1 million in the current year’s budget. The village’s refuse fund totals $959,000, the water fund $3.5 million and the pool fund $273,000.

Pleasantville’s new fiscal year begins June 1.

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