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Posted on May 21, 2012 at 11:16 AM by PattiAnn Schultz
Last year, during the town budget cycle, the Town Board heard from many residents about the board spending too much money and cutting taxes. We also had many meetings that packed the Town Hall Board Room with residents telling us to not cut services to the town.
In our best judgment last year the Town Board did a little bit of both. We did cut some services and let a few employees go. This year’s budget process promises to bring the same discussions to the floor again. The process will be a tad bit tougher because of the newly imposed two percent property tax cap imposed by New York State.
As your Town Supervisor I am concerned because higher taxes keep businesses and housing starts from coming to town and increasing our town tax base. Raising taxes is not going to entice anyone to come to Webster and it may drive more residents and business out of town.
I talk to business owners all the time and they are frustrated by the increasing tax increases imposed on doing business here in Webster. Higher taxes forces them to raise prices, cut back on buying new equipment, cut back on maintenance, not hire or lay off employees, and not expand their business because government takes the capital they need to provide these services.
What confuses me is the fact that residents in Webster just voted to raise their taxes again last week at the School District vote. By that vote are you telling the Town Board that the recession is over with and tax increases are the normal again? Can you, the residents, afford more town taxes for town services?
It is nice to hear about the feel good stories of many here in town, but without business picking up the bulk of the taxes, Webster could be a ghost town. Just think for a moment that it cost just under $ 16,000 to send a child to school here in Webster. That means the town needs to build a house assessed at a worth over $700,000 to just break even on that one student going to school. Who do you think makes up some of that difference when we do not build that $700,000 house?
The answer is the business owners here in Webster. How much more do you think they can afford before they go out of business or move out of this town? It is these same business owners that everyone in town goes to all the time for free goods and hand outs for charities or sponsorships. Really, how much more can they afford? Think about it.
Just recently I heard that the Northeast Joint Fire District will be proposing a new four to five million dollar bond to build a new fire station at the corner of Phillips Road and Schlegel Road. There will be a bond vote sometime in July. This again will most likely raise the tax rate of fire protection for residents east of Hard Road.
I am confused at just how much more in taxes we here in Webster can afford. I need to hear from you – the residents – before the town budget cycle starts here in August as to what your thoughts are on raising town taxes, or cutting services to maintain a steady tax rate like we have had now for the past five years.
Please email me your thoughts and concerns at email@example.com, or call me at the office 872-7068 so I can pass along your concerns to the other town board members.
Our process starts soon and we need to take a course that is acceptable to the community.
As always, if you have any questions about your town government, please contact me during regular business hours at (585) 872-7068; or email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald W. Nesbitt
Webster Town Supervisor