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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: October 29, 2021

2022 budget message: ZERO DOLLAR TAX LEVY INCREASE

No tax hikes for residents of the villages and unincorporated Greenburgh in 2022!
3rd consecutive year

TOWN SUPERVISOR’S 2021-22 BUDGET MESSAGE

 

A ZERO DOLLAR INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAX LEVY FOR BOTH UNINCORPORATED GREENBURGH AND THE VILLAGES

 

2022 BUDGET SUMMARY

 

TOWN WIDE: (A Budget)

Tax rate decrease = 5.17%

Total Appropriations = $28.7 million, down $4.1 million from 2021

Decrease in tax for 2022 = $11.69 per $500,000 of assessed value; $214.62 in 2022 vs. $226.31 in 2021

 

TOWN OUTSIDE: (B Budget)

Tax rate decrease = 4.80% (A Fund and B Fund combined)

Total Appropriations = $90.2 million, up $3.0 from 2021

Decrease in tax for 2022 = $146.82 per $500,000 of assessed value; $2,914.11 in 2021 vs. $3,060.92 in 2021

 

As we near the completion of another extremely difficult and highly unusual year, we the residents of the Town of Greenburgh, have proven once again that we are a strong, vibrant, and caring community, capable of and motivated to assist our neighbors and “be there” when times are difficult. It is absolutely the greatest honor of my life to represent you and I have an enormous sense of pride in both being a resident of Greenburgh and an elected official. We as Greenburgh residents have a great deal “to be proud of.”

 

Let me begin by informing you that after an exhaustive review of the 2021 budget, I am pleased to announce that I will be submitting to the Town Board for their approval, 2022 Annual Town Budgets, both for the Town Entire and the Unincorporated Town, with ZERO DOLLAR increases in Property Tax Levy. This will be the third consecutive year of ZERO DOLLAR Property Tax increases, which the Board and I strongly believe is an absolute necessity in this most trying fiscal time, for our constituents.

 

It has been evident for quite some time that Federal, State and Local governments across every region of our Country are struggling with increased cost and decreased revenue, due to the continuing economic impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic. These extraordinary fiscal factors require municipal leadership to identify and employ every conceivable budgetary option available, to ensure the current life safety and financial viability of our constituency, without increases in Property Taxes, which would add to the already significant burden caused by the Pandemic.

 

THE CHALLENGE FOR THE TOWN

 

How can we best maintain services which residents depend upon, utilizing the funds available, and accomplish this in the most efficient and effective manner? We recognize the hardships many residents are experiencing during this very difficult time and rest assured, we have been, are currently and will continue to work our hardest and smartest to meet both your needs and the Town’s fiscal obligations.

 

NO INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAX

 

The budget I will be proposing for 2022 projects no increase in Property Tax.

Thus, we project that the 2022 Tax Levy will remain the same as in 2021. Once again, these actions will place the Town under the NYS “Tax Cap,” providing taxpayers with eligibility for a refund which would be provided by NYS.

                                                                               

Please understand, for residents of the Unincorporated Town, between 80%-85% of your entire Property Tax bill accrues to School, Fire District and other Municipal entities not controlled by the Town. Simply put, all Town provided services which residents of the Unincorporated Town receive are paid for with just 15%-20% of your Property Tax dollars.

 

For residents of the “Villages,” 98% of your Property Taxes accrue to entities other than the Town, as the great majority of your services are provided by your Village.

                                                                                                               

WHAT FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO THE AMOUNT OF PROPERTY TAX WE COLLECT?

 

In trying to explain the main fiscal issues which the Town must consider, it is important to understand the effect the Pandemic has had on specific revenue streams.

 

1-            PROPERTY TAX REVENUE: We live in a great Town, with wonderful, responsible residents and property owners. As projected today, it appears that Property Tax Revenue for the Town will be nearly fully (98%) collected by year’s end. We thank our residents for their understanding of the needs of and for their support for the Town.

 

2-            FEE REVENUE: Fee income from sources including the Building Department and others, have historically generated significant revenue for the Town. The greatest source of these funds is provided by building charges and fees generated by new construction and renovation. Our wonderful Town’s reputation as an exceptional place to live and especially “to do business,” has ensured an ever, increasing number of development projects, the largest being the major, multi-year expansion of the Regeneron Headquarters. These projects, once again, spurred by the economic viability of our Town and its wonderful residents, generate millions of dollars in fee income, which has allowed us to leave your Property Taxes at the same level these past three years.

 

3-            PANDEMIC FEDERAL AID: The Town has been able to secure a one-time grant equal to approximately $9.5 million from NYS. These funds will be distributed based upon a population-based formula; therefore approximately 50% of these funds have or will be disbursed directly to each of the Villages and 50% to the Unincorporated Town. Half of the funds should be available in 2021 and the balance in 2022. (2021 projected $ 2,275,217, 2022 estimated $ 2,275,217)

 

4-            SALES TAX REVENUE: The inability of local business to generate sales in a Pandemic is obvious. Not so obvious is the reality that the Sales Tax Revenue generated by purchases within our Town may also be affected. Sales Tax revenue was decreased in 2021, from Pre-Pandemic levels, as expected. The projection for 2022 will assume slightly increased revenues over 2021, but not to Pre-Pandemic levels. (2021 projected $10,400,000, 2022 estimated $11,000,000)

 

5-            HOTEL TAX REVENUE: As expected, Hotels and Motels across the Town have had little occupancy and therefore 2021 reflected a shortfall in Hotel Tax Revenue. The projection for 2021 will assume reduced revenue as well, as compared to Pre-Pandemic levels. (2021 projected $ 545,000, 2022 estimated  $ 750,000)

 

6-            TOWN COURT REVENUES: The Town Court generates revenues from fines and charges. These revenues accrue to the A budget, for “The Town Entire”, including the “Villages,” and the effect of closed Courts and fallow Court Chambers, was decreased fee income. The projection for 2022 will assume better, but still reduced revenue as well, as compared to Pre-Pandemic levels.(2021 projected $1,700,000, 2022 estimated $2,150,000)                                          

Please allow me to take this opportunity to acknowledge and express my appreciation to the employees of our Town, who have selflessly provided services in a qualitative and unabated manner, throughout the entire course of the Pandemic. We have been blessed with a work force which continually places themselves “in harm’s way,” to ensure that all our families were, are and will continue to be safe.                           

 

WHAT WILL NEED TO BE DONE IN 2022 ?

 

The answer to this question is simply, much of the same as in 2021.

Hiring will be limited to essential positions, contracts for the purchase of operational items will be more intensely scrutinized and deferred where possible and some programs could also be reduced, deferred, or cancelled until we feel it is physically safe and appropriate to go fully forward. There have been requests by some departments for additional positions. These requests have not been included in the budget. The Town Board has asked that they collectively decide whether the positions are absolutely needed during difficult times.

 

Discussions regarding consolidations of functions although summarily rejected by interest groups, must be considered, and explored and “any and all” options identified for increasing revenues and decreasing costs, without impacting the provision of service

 

Changes in the Assessment Role designed to equitable equalize each property owner’s share of the Property Tax Levy have been implemented. Some residents might see increases in their Tax Bill, while others will remain the same or see decreases. It is important to understand that the total amount to be collected will be the same in 2022, as it was in both 2021 and 2020.

 

The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Greenburgh Police Department has been negotiated and settled and retroactive pay and salary increases have been incorporated into both the 2021 and 2022 budgets. Please note, the Teamster and CSEA contracts for the remainder of our employees will be in effect into 2022.

 

The Town has implemented an independent review of procedures and policies regarding the treatment of Race and Gender in our workplace and is currently developing a training program which will speak to ensuring the provision of a safe, equitable and secure work environment for our diverse work force.

 

I have included in this budget, implementation of the recommendations of the GASR Law Enforcement Committee’s, Police Reform Report and appropriated $100,000 to be utilized for recruitment activities, Police Training Initiatives, The Police Advisory Board and for assessments of Racial Equity Impact. I know you join me in congratulating the committee on its fine work. I had planned to include funding for the crisis team in the budget, since the county is planning to have licensed mental health counselors and clinical social workers at the county level, I feel consideration should be deferred.

 

Please keep in mind, we face many of the same financial and operational challenges that the world-wide Pandemic has brought to our Country and the rest of the world.  The Town Board and I began preparing for these uncertainties earlier in 2020 by deferring expenditures while at the same time drawing attention to the expanding needs of large numbers of our citizens whom we believed would be impacted the hardest.

 Fiscal stability is a hallmark of the Town of Greenburgh, thanks to our informed and supportive citizens, the strength of our departmental managers and personnel, and the diverse and long-time experience of our Town Board. We believe working together, we will continue to be fine.

With great appreciation and respect

 

 

PAUL FEINER

Town Supervisor

                                                                                               

 

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