Adopted 2023-24 Village Budgets Reflect Conservative Planning
By Rick Pezzullo—
The 2023-24 budgets recently adopted by local villages reflect a conservative approach to financial planning as revenues remain below pre-COVID19 pandemic levels.
Tarrytown’s $38.3 million budget includes an overall spending increase of 7.8%. While the tax rate decreased by 3.85%, the average property owner’s taxes will fluctuate based on their property value compared to others.
“The mayor, Board of Trustees, department heads and staff are keeping a careful rein on village finances, maintaining and enhancing services, while still recovering from a past gross loss of nearly $1 million per year in revenue below pre-pandemic levels (mostly due to losses in parking and hotel tax revenues), which totaled over $5 million,” Village Administrator Richard Slingerland stated in a budget adoption memorandum.
Parking revenue is projected to remain more than $500,000 below pre-pandemic levels. However, sales tax is estimated to increase by that same amount. With interest rates high, earnings on savings are projected to jump by $355,000.
The village is also experiencing some substantial increases on the expense side of the ledger, most notably with pensions ($263,642), medical insurance ($240,000) and debt service ($803,203).
In Irvington, the village’s $20.6 million budget also calls for a slight tax rate decrease. For an average property owner with an assessed valuation of $1,020,000, village taxes would drop by about $130. However, if the same property’s assessment increased by 5%, villages taxes would increase by about $270.
Included in the budget is a 2.5% police contract increase, which goes into effect June 1. The CSEA union contract expires June 1, so any union and non-union percentage increases are included in contingency and are subject to future collective bargaining, according to Village Treasurer Katie Bugna.
Other major increases in the tentative budget are Health Insurance premiums ($368,895), Debt ($308,009), New York State Retirement contributions ($100,700), Utilities ($52,200), and General Liability Insurance ($37,300). The January 2023 rate for a family plan increased by 14.91%, which is more than what was anticipated in the current budget. The tentative budget provides for a 12% increase for January 2024.
On a positive note are several increases in revenues. Building permit revenues are budgeted to increase by $180,000, sales tax revenue by $150,000, interest and earnings revenue by $85,000, and cell tower rental revenue by $18,000.
To balance the budget, the village will utilize $226,000 from surplus.
In Dobbs Ferry, the $24.5 million budget increases spending by $1.8 million and includes a tax levy increase of $4.97%.
“This year we present another fiscally conservative budget, continuing to scrutinize every penny spent,” Interim Village Administrator Richard Leins and Treasurer Jeff Chuta stated. “The budget consists of estimates of revenues and expenditures based on past and current results, estimated trends to try to account for the possibility of slowing or lower tax assessments, and incorporates capital needs.”
“However, the village needs to remain cautious going forward,” Leins and Chuta stated. “The tax cap legislation, made permanent in the 2019-2020 state budget, continues to put pressure on the village’s ability to provide essential services to the taxpayers. Therefore, to maintain the current levels of service short of cutting same, the village will need to identify other potential areas to increase revenues, or may ultimately be in the position of having to consider an override of the tax cap in the future.”
Leins and Chuta are recommending the Board of Trustees establish a capital reserve fund and an equipment repair reserve fund to anticipate future capital needs.
In Sleepy Hollow, the $31.8 million budget includes a 2.11% tax levy increase for homestead residents and a 5.6% decrease for non-homestead property owners. $3.6 million from unassigned fund balance was utilized.
Several attempts to obtain additional information on the budget from village officials were unsuccessful.
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