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Yorktown Budget Calls for 7.72 Percent Tax Increase, Could Drop to 4.75

Supervisor Michael Grace releases his tentative 2013 budget.

Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace has released his tentative 2013 budget of 32.2 million, which initially included a 7.72 percent tax hike for the majority of residents, but after town board members discussed a revised budget last week, he said that rate would go down to 4.75 percent.

Yorktown town board members will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 20 to review the budget before adopting a preliminary budget. 

Grace's initially proposed budget called for a 7.72 percent increase in the town’s "ADL tax rate" – composed of the general, highway and library fund. The reason why Grace said it would drop down to 4.75 is because the town would dip into the fund balance, see a one-time savings of about $800,000 with a new garbage hauler contract and use $750,000 to loser that water district fund balance.

"All towns dwell on the operating budget – the ADL budget," said Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco, who said this was one of the highest proposed budget increases in years.

However, there are 28 different taxing districts within the town of Yorktown with its own budget and tax rate. Residents' total town tax bill depends on what districts they live in.

For example, the tax bill for the typical resident with town utilities would decrease 0.50 percent, according to numbers in the proposed tentative budget. Residents without town utilities, would see an increase of 2.58 percent on their tax bill, according to the budget.

The proposed budget does not include raises for elected officials, which is a proposal Councilman Bianco said he would like to have a further discussion on. The town supervisor serves a two-year term and is paid $112,095 a year. Members of the town board serve a four-year term and are paid $18,085 a year.

No layoffs are called for under the current proposed budget.

The official budget hearing on the budget is scheduled for Dec. 5 at Town Hall. Town board members must adopt the budget by Dec. 20. 

For a copy of the town's budget, go to the town's website.

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Evan Bray November 19, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Hi and welcome to Yorktown where a "Republican" administration has put forth "one of the highest proposed budget increases in years" in the middle of the worst economic climate since the great depression. Quick, approve Costco! Looks like we all need a second job. I call greeter. And just over the hill there to your left, if you squint, you can see Bizzaro world.
Jay Horgan November 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Wow, they have to be kidding!! In this economic climate,The Yorktown Supervisor and town board needs to take a serious look at this proposed budget and make some serious cuts, and LAY OFFS if needed. Its just not acceptable, and needs to be totally reviewd and revamped to a proposed lower rate increse. People simply can not tolerate, afford and accept this tax hike!! I guess this will be Mike Graces last and only term as Town Suoervisor!!!!!
Evan Bray November 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Mr. Horgan, if I'm not mistaken, I think they actual just added at least two new positions too to the town payroll. I'll look through recent TB mtg mins and confirm. I do remember questioning the need for those hires.
Sheila Schraier November 19, 2012 at 01:38 PM
So they run on austerity & want a breathtaking tax increase? One of the highest I can recall & we have been here since 1975. & to top it all higher salaries? Hope we all remember next November.
J OReilly November 19, 2012 at 01:54 PM
My wife and I are living on a fixed income. I will not get a 7.72 or even 4.75 percent raise this year. I have always favored two year terms for town officials. This will enable citizens to remove those officials who pass outrageous budgets to be removed. When I worked in private industry and the times were bad, each department would be told to cut x percent. This has to happen in the public sector.
Robert November 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM
This is not why you were eleted Michael grace, we will remember.
Sami November 19, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Are they trying to make Yorktown completely undesirable? I not only feel for those of us who are current homeowners and have to deal with another huge tax increase (and what will we get out of it?!?!?!), but for those trying to sell and get out to more affordable places- who is going to want to buy a house in Yorktown after seeing what the taxes already are and then what this huge increase is going to be? We need to take a stand!
Jay Horgan November 19, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Robert, Lets all keep in mind that the Town Supervisor does not act alone in this decision, We all need to remember the rest of the Town Board as well come election time. They need to make the hard decisions and recomendations that they were elected for, as this is crucial with keeping our taxes in line. You simply can NOT keep passing it on to the local tax payers, if you cant afford it, it needs to be carefully examined and eliminated. We will remember their actions,or inactions.
Yorktown Hall November 19, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Watch this episode of Grace Notes for the full story > http://youtu.be/SVTTkmZwW1I
Susan Siegel November 19, 2012 at 06:11 PM
There may be some confusion over how the Supervisor is proposing to lower the ADL tax rate in his tentative budget from 7.72% to 4.75%. As reported by Patch, at last week’s budget discussion, the suggestion was made to use some fund balance to lower the ADL tax rate. I think it correct to say that those present at the meeting assumed that that meant the General Fund’s fund balance. But that’s not what may be happening. The added revenue may be coming from an increase in the little known “administrative fee” that the General Fund charges the special districts (water, sewer, refuse, parks) for providing administrative services that are paid for out of the General Fund. If that’s the case, then the General Fund would raiding Peter to pay Paul. The administrative fee generates $1.2 million in revenue for the General Fund. Any change in how that fee is calculated should be watched closely. For more information about the administrative fee that the special districts pay into the General Fund, visit www.yorktownbettergovernment.org.
Evan Bray November 19, 2012 at 06:42 PM
This whole taxing scheme sure is confusing. I assume that when Mr. Bianco notes that the proposed increase to the ADL tax rate is "the highest proposed budget increases in years," that he's referring to the 7.72% increase and that he's truthin'. IF it were to come down to 4.75%, would that be more in line with previous years increases. Has the budget ever remained the same with no increase? Is it normal to use the general fund or its administrative fees or is this a unique proposal. There certainly does seem to be some Peter-to-pay-Paul-type accounting going on. If it weren't for the fund balance/fees and the one offs counting-chicken-hatched savings from the new garbage contract and Coscto fees [seriously, we do they make us come out to voice ourselves--pro and con--if the TB is already banking on the Costco planning/building dept fees?! Could save us all a lot of time and effort if we just rubber stamped it, like we all know will happen, eventually.] it sounds like the rate might be higher than 8%. Can you give us some perspective on previous years' ADL increases? Are we actually getting more or better services or is the proposed ADL increase--which is 2 or 3 times the rate of inflation--or is this just to cover year over year increases in costs to the town to provide the same services? I have have a layman's understanding of this insanely complicated tax structure and may not even be asking the right questions?
Susan Siegel November 19, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Understanding the Town budget, and especially how it impacts individual taxpayers, can be confusing because each homeowner’s TOTAL tax bill is based on a combination of separate tax rates. One needs to look at both tax rates and total tax bill. For example, the budget shows a combined total tax bill for the typical homeowner with a $10,000 assessed value and sewer and water as $2,446.95. The sewer tax is shown as a “weighted” average tax of $375.08 -- but I’m in the Hallocks Mill Sewer District and my sewer tax will be $708.98. My total tax bill would be $2,770.85. As for historic ADL rates, the 7.72% shown in the Supervisor’s Budget is the largest ADL tax rate increase since 1995; since 1998, the ADL tax rate increases have been between 2.10% and 3.95%. In 2012, the increase was 2.55%. The main reason for the sharp increase in this year’s ADL rate is the increase in salaries and benefits. Police salaries and retirement increased $540,000 and salaries and retirement for other unionized workers (CSEA) increased by $340,000. Medical, vision and dental benefits increased by $500,000. (The Supervisor’s budget doesn’t include raises for department heads or elected officials; the Town Board has not discussed these issues yet.)
Susan Siegel November 19, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Faced with a 7.72% ADL tax rate increase, it would appear that the Town Board has three options, or a combination of the three options, if it wants to reduce the ADL tax rate: 1. increase revenue over and above current projections, possibly using some of the General Fund fund balance or increasing the administrative fee charged the on the optimistic side.) 2. look for places to cut non-staff expenses, e.g., maintenance, supplies, equipment, etc. It takes a lot of these kind of cuts to add up to $180,000 -- or a 1% reduction in the tax rate. 3. don’t add and/or reduce staff in order to reduce the salary, retirement and medical benefits budget lines. Once staff is added, the Board doesn't like to lay anyone off.
Sami November 19, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Wasn't there talk about converting the Yorktown PD into County officer (like some other local towns have done) to save money? Anyone know if this is still being looked at/in the pipeline?
Susan Siegel November 19, 2012 at 08:32 PM
That idea was dropped in 2009 for 2 reasons: 1) there was considerable opposition to it in Yorktown. It was never discussed by the full Town Board.in office at the time. 2) according to some figures, the costs to Yorktown taxpayers would have been more because county police salaries were higher than Yorktown salaries and the town would have kept the same size force. In the supervisor's budget, the $10.3 million police budget accounts for approximately 41% of the $29 million General Fund budget. Having a police department is a policy decision t
Francis T McVetty November 19, 2012 at 08:40 PM
It doesn't matter if it is a republican or a democrat in office. In Yorktown, they are interchangeable. It is NOW time for term limits. It seems that other municipalities are either laying off personnel or NOT adding new personnel. The other issue is also how about consolidating the school districts in Yorktown. Those savings would pay for this increase. This country is in deep dodo because of the unfunded debt. It is no different with local government. Just wait for the affordable heath care bill to kick in. Think you are being squeezed now, just wait.
Piper November 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I hope the "Town Board" is NOT expecting a raise this year. Between the up and coming increased taxes heading our way and "Sandy" cleanup that Yorktowners had to pay to have their own trees, etc. removed . (Quite an expense) How about our savings of $70. p/household for new garbage co. By the way, is it true the garbage co. the town board rewarded sold his company to someone else?? Who are they?
Bob Rohr November 20, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Francis, you keep putting forward this fantasy of combining Lakeland and Yorktown. That is what the State had in mind many years ago. The little Districts North refused so Yorktown I & 2 merged.and became Yorktown Central. How would you put the two together? You would have 3 High Schools, different employee contracts, different debt loads and the list goes on. It would cost you a lot more, a whole lot more.
Frankie November 20, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Does anyone remember how Terrence Murphy stood in front of all the supermarket and campaigned declaring "taxes are too high" bla bla bla. What has he done???? nothing...he pontificate this all thru his many campaigns for various offices yet as a member of the town board taxes go up. Is this dumb and dumber of the town board or what?
smellyp@nts November 20, 2012 at 03:21 AM
have any U looked at the budget and the tax breakdown? or just reacting to patchy article?
Mike Rodriques November 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM
We already have term limits. They're called elections!
Mike Rodriques November 20, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I guess my question to everyone here would be. Did you really expect taxes to be lowered? All costs go up. This is a steeper hike than usual, but we have to expect that taxes will be increased. This is independent of party in office. Yes, the economy sucks at the moment, but that doesn't mean that prices have been frozen. Living expenses go up, and so does the cost of materials, insurance, manpower and other things. The alternative is to continue stripping items from the list of services provided as part of the tax base. The downside to that is that as more and more services are lost, and as the school and fire and police systems are stripped the value of the homes in Yorktown will continue to drop. That will be the next series of complaints. So I guess in closing I would say, We should expect these increases. It's a natural part of the system that we're in. Salaries go up, home values go up, and taxes follow suit. My complaint is this. If my taxes are continuing to go up, what am I getting for it. I vote to bring back street sweepers. Does anyone remember those?
Francis T McVetty November 21, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Susan, just finished reading the Northern Westchester Examiner where you stated that [ Siegel noted homeowners without sewer and water would see a combined tax increase of 2.58% .] If this is true then we, the "un-sewered 1000", are again taking it in the neck. We have failing septic systems which the town does NOT care about and now we will have to pay an increase? For what.? What is the town doing for us with this increase? The only person that ever actually tried to do something for us was Susan Siegel and that was before she was elected supervisor. The town has forgotten about us when it comes to sewers, how about forgetting about us with this tax increase!
Susan Siegel November 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Francis:Re the unsewered homes in the Hallocks Mill sewer district, here's a belated response to your question about what's happening. Regrettably, no progress has been made this year on resolving the sewer situation for the 1,000 unsewered homeowners in the Hallocks Mill district, who, by the way, are no longer paying any taxes into the district. Instead of focusing on what could be done within the district to solve the problem, Supervisor Grace has chosen instead to revisit a plan, considered, but dismissed, in the 1990s, in 2005 and again last year, that would divert a portion of the Hallocks Mill sewage flow to the Peekskill plant. To accomplish this, he needs the support of Peekskill and Cortlandt who are part of the Peekskill Sanitary Sewer District and who opposed diversion in the past. He also needs to find additional funds. Since January, Supervisor Grace has had only one exploratory meeting with officials from Peekskill and Cortlandt; a follow up October meeting had to be canceled because of Sandy and has not been rescheduled yet. But -- even if diversion were to proceed -- and that’s a big IF -- it still wouldn’t solve other critical problems in the Hallocks Mill sewer infrastructure system that need to be addressed before more homes can be sewered. If there’s to be progress in 2013, the Town needs to make Hallocks Mill sewers more of a priority issue as well as pursuing solutions that have a realistic chance of being implemented.
Francis T McVetty November 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Evan, did I hear you complain when the President of the United States wants to do the same thing?
Francis T McVetty November 22, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Mike Rodriques, over 90% of incumbents win at election time. Set term limits. Elected office is NOT a career. It was a temporary job. You got into office did what had to be done and then got a REAL job.
Mike Rodriques December 04, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Then shame on us for re-electing them. We're reaping what we sowed...

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