Lewisboro Town Board OKs Budget With 6.4% Tax Hike

  • Comments (7)
The Lewisboro Town Board reviews the 2013 budget Monday night before voting to approve it. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Property owners will face a 6.4 percent tax increase under the budget for 2013 approved Monday night by the Lewisboro Town Board.

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Are you happy with the 2013 Lewisboro budget?

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Reader Results

Are you happy with the 2013 Lewisboro budget?

  • Yes. The town board did the best it could under the circumstances. Many of these problems were created long ago.

    17%
  • No, Despite the last-minute cuts, the town board was reckless in its spending.

    51%
  • No. The town board cut way too much and has abdicated its stewardship of the town.

    32%
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The $10.2 million spending package came under scrutiny last month when Supervisor Peter Parson’s initial proposal called for a 19.072 percent tax hike. That budget included a $235,000 repaving program for Lewisboro roads that was eventually cut, but town officials said it could be brought back next year as a bond issue or a referendum vote.

The final budget anticipates $4.8 million in revenue, meaning $5.4 million will need to raised by taxes – a 4.76 percent increase over last year.

The tax rate now stands at $17.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value – up from last year’s rate of $16.63.

Parsons said the board made 2 percent across-the-board cuts in expenditures that were not obligated by contracts. He blamed health and medical benefit costs and other unfunded mandates beyond the town’s control for the tax rate increase. He said that if such costs were eliminated from the budget, spending would decrease by 2.4 percent.

Other cuts included eliminating $11,000 in raises for elected town officials and spreading payments the town owes to NYSEG over a longer period of time. The Highway Department also cut its energy and fuel budget.

“The Highway Department’s road and maintenance budget is down to $50,000,” Parsons added. “It’s a pothole budget.”

The board listened to comments from residents, some of whom complained that the town didn’t cut enough, while others said it cut too much and was abdicating its stewardship of the town.

“You must think long-term in regard to the infrastructure of the town,” said South Salem resident Paul Lewis. “Road paving must be included in the budget. It should not be funded by a bond or referendum. Don’t abdicate your responsibility. Pay as you go instead of borrowing.”

Parsons said he agreed that the town roads need to be addressed, but said public feedback and the town board majority contended the plan was fiscally unfeasible in the current economic climate.

“I think it’s fairly well known that I’ve wanted to put some money in the budget for [road repaving],” he said. “But I’ve not been able to carry that off with members of the community or even members of the board.”

Some in the audience questioned the town’s addition of a full-time policeman instead of staffing the department entirely with part-time officers – as it currently is – and avoid having to pay benefits.

Parsons admitted that way may be cheaper, but said it was not an efficient way to make sure all shifts are consistently maintained.

“The board has thought long and hard about this,” he said. “The No. 1 priority for us is to provide security and safety. We think this is a better way to police the town or else we wouldn’t have gone down this road.”

The board voted 4-1 to pass the budget, with Dan Welsh the lone dissenter.

“I appreciate what you are trying to do with this budget, but I disagree with these cuts,” Welsh said.

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Comments (7)

Waccabuc:

Brutus - Doing a little research, it's my understanding that the youth officer grant is only for a year, and not a given for future years. Also the youth officer is only paid while in the school, the rest of the time like the 6 months of training,is paid for by the town. Add medical benefits and vacation, it's hard to believe that you really think adding full-time employees was a prudent move for the taxpayers,time will prove you wrong.

As with the highway cuts, it's pay me now or pay me later. I guess the current board members don't plan on being around to address these concerns in the future.

Arizona:

But Dr. Simon is a dem...and he managed Parsons' campaign

The TRUTH:

This is the first time I can agree with Oldtimer. Mr Parsons is a nice fellow but a poor Supervisor. When he decided to run for office he did not expect to win. After Mr. Duffy self destructed he unfortunately won the election. Mr. Parsons is not going to make the tough decisions or stand up for his beliefs. The best illustration of Mr. Parson's personality is the fact that he voted for this budget and did not fight for his own. Whether you like Dan Welsh or not he still had the conviction to not vote for this budget. Maybe it is time for Lewisboro to bring in a professional town manager at a compensation level that will attract more than what we have. You pay "peanuts" and get only "monkeys".

Reeve1:

A lot of work on the part of the board's three Republicans went into cutting from 19% down to 6.46%.

Even so, this is still too high, Rather than blame others, the supervisor and his finance department should have "shopped" healthcare costs, the biggest nut, or pooled coverage to save money as other towns have done. On the revenue side, why are they not pursuing a cell tower on the Brownell preserve that would bring six-figure income annually to taxpayers?

Marcus Junius Brutus:

Oldtimer, -many town employees are Republicans so what you really mean to say is that Mr. Parsons' failed to deliver enough to satisfy the voracious appetite of the town's labor associations, or to push through a plan that paves roads in the two areas where he received strong support.

Waccabuc, as I believe you actually know, the youth officer is a transfer from the highway department and is being paid for through a grant. The one officerr being added is being hired at a much lower salary. His exempt position is a response to the union's part-time work rules that make it impossible to schedule part-time officers properly.

You would think that the unions would be happy that this budget includes the two full-time positions that were added for the heads of the municipal workers Association, who backed the Democrats, alongg with a nice pay increases that did not go to the less politically connected library staff or to most any of the taxpayers who are being forced to pay for this.

Waccabuc:

Not maintaining our roads,and adding full time employees to the police department payroll, is kicking the can down the street. The current town board can believe they are fooling the taxpayers, but time will expose these poor decisions. The taxpayers, and future board members will have to deal with these irresponsible choices in the future.

Oldtimer:

Mr. Parsons might as well call himself a Republican. He did not represent the Democrat interests.

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