LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Members of the Lewisboro Town Board, determined to keep any tax increase below the state-imposed 2 percent cap, slashed more than $380,000 from the proposed $10.6 million spending package Monday night.
The reductions, as well as some increased revenue projections, helped cut the tax rate increase from 17.4 percent to 8.9 percent.
The budget plan now stands at $10.3 million with $5.5 million of that to be collected through taxes. That would translate to $18.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Some of the cuts included the elimination of a $235,000 road-resurfacing project proposed by Supervisor Peter Parsons. The project could reappear as a bond referendum, allowing taxpayers to decide whether it should move forward, board members said.
The board also cut raises for all elected officials for a total savings of $11,000. Those who lost their raises include the supervisor, town board members, town clerk, highway superintendent, receiver of taxes and the town justices.
The board also saved money by restructuring its $260,000 debt service. By spreading it out over a longer period of time, it found a savings of $157,000 for the 2013 budget.
“We made a lot of progress tonight,” Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia said. “I wish this [budget] was the one we had to start with. People are seeing hard times, and we need to respect them and keep this [budget] as tight as possible.”
The board voted to approve the preliminary budget that resulted from Monday night’s revisions, but its members said another $259,000 needs to be eliminated to get below the 2 percent cap. The board will meet at the Town House at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to discuss further cuts as it scrambles to get the budget in place before a public hearing Dec. 10
Not every board member was happy with all the results.
“I voted for it, but I think it stinks,” board member Dan Welsh said. “I didn’t like some of the cuts.”
The board also voted unanimously to pass a local ordinance that would allow it to surpass the 2 percent tax cap without subjecting itself to any repercussions from the state.
“It’s lawyerly prudent to pass the legislation,” board member Frank Kelly said. “Unfortunately, people are going to perceive that as permission to bust the cap, which it is not.”