Describing the village financial prospects as "ugly," Mayor Ken Wray announced some upcoming troubles his new administration will face, only seconds into their new terms.
Wray spoke to an audience of village residents at the Philipsburg Manor "candidates night" last week, alongside his slate of trustees and the village judge, of the hard choices coming down soon.
The so-called "Mayor's Budget" is a preliminary budget which will be submitted to the Board and the public by March 21. There is a budget hearing on March 26. From there, they will "duke it out," said Wray, with a budget finalized by the end of the April.
On the table, Wray forewarned, are likely some "tough decisions in personnel areas," remaining necessarily vague as the numbers are not yet fully cooked.
A public hearing has just been announced for Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall to hear and consider comments on the adoption of a local law authorizing the village to override the mandated property tax cap for the coming fiscal year.
Meanwhile, while "budgets are tough this year" in every realm, according to Mayor Drew Fixell, things aren't looking as grim in Tarrytown. Here a preliminary budget was presented on Wednesday, with the village mainly grappling with exhoribitant tax certiorari and pension costs.
Tax certiorari is the fast-growing legal practice in New York of property owners challenging the real estate tax assessment on a given property in order to reduce the property’s real estate taxes.
The one big complaint Sleepy Hollow has of not having as many commercial properties for their tax roll counters the opposite complaint Tarrytown's mayor has right now. "Our tax certiorari is worse [than Sleepy Hollow]," he said. "Even when we're doing well, that money doesn't flow back into the system for collecting real estate taxes. There's been a substantial drop in revenue for the last 10 years and the impact is substantial."
Fixell said that in recent years they've "trimmed away what we can," but there's only so much you can do about these rising and uncontrollable costs without "dipping into the basic services the village can provide." He said it's almost impossible not to have a tax increase.
Fixell puts his hopes on a final New York state budget that will lower and stabilize pension costs, but for the village's preliminary plans they are assuming no change.