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Posted on August 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
The Town Board had its first budget presentation from some of the town’s Department Heads last Thursday night. This coming Thursday the Town Board will finish up with presentations from the Technology Department, the Highway Department, Justice Courts, the Sewer Department, the Town Clerk, and Human Resources.
At the present time the 2015 Budget needs to have a lot of work done to it for us to stay under the 1.56% imposed New York State Tax Cap. Our expenses far out weight our revenues with pension costs at 20% of payroll, 12% increase in health care costs, and the normal cost of supplies to do the proper job of servicing for our Webster residents.
The second part of the New York State Tax Cap is the New York State property tax freeze which will reimburse Webster homeowners for any tax increase the town might impose up to the tax cap limit. The first year it was the Webster Central School District which stayed under the cap. All Webster home owners will receive a check in October, 2014 for the increase up to the tax cap limit that the school district was able to stay under. Now in the second year, both the town and the school district must stay under the property tax cap for you, the homeowner, to receive a check, and in the third year it is the town that must stay under the tax cap.
This tax cap and property tax freeze, while a mandate from the Governor and Legislative branches down to the town is doing nothing but lowering the standard of services that the town can provide to its residents. Yes, while I can only raise taxes this year by a small amount to stay under the tax cap, serious cuts in service will have to happen now and in the future.
You cannot have health care cost coming out at ten percent to twenty percent increases, pension costs still at twenty percent of payroll, and supply costs going up by 50% each year and then maintain a 1.56% increase in the tax cap. The math just does not add up to doing a quality job for Webster residents in the way of services with theses type of numbers.
Some say the answer is to cut, cut, cut, the budget but that is not always the answer when you still want to provide quality services to your residents. In past years, this Town Board has cut all the fat from our budget and also cut employees to maintain a steady tax rate. We are now at the point where cuts to employees or the budget will sufficiently hamper service that Webster residents enjoy and have come to expect. This Town Board does not want to go down that road quite yet.
The Town Board will continue to work hard and cut where necessary and we hope in the end we will able to meet the tax cap and provide quality services to our residents at the same time.
As always, if you have any questions about your town government, please feel free to contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald W. Nesbitt