Irvington’s Citizen’s Budget Committee, A Matter of Dollars and Sense

When this publication first interviewed Trustee Erin Malloy last fall, she labeled taxes as one of her principal concerns for the residents of Irvington.

She was fully aware of the perpetual ascent in all areas of taxation and she wanted to make that a priority for her time in office. On Wednesday, April 11, Mayor Erin Malloy and her Board of Trustees met in executive session with Irvington’s newly formed Citizen’s Budget Committee or CBC.

Comprised of finance professionals, economists and a former Village Trustee, the CBC was formed in January of this year. Ms. Malloy acted as the Board Liaison for the first meeting held on January 6. Chairman V.K. Ranganathan along with Hilary Chenel, Michael Havraniak, Alan Highet, Guy Leeser, Joe Macies, Terry Masterson, James McCann, Ed Midgley, John Montgomery, Allen Reichman and Penn Wyrough comprise the Committee. In a well defined statement the CBC has written that their mission is to review the Annual Operating and Capital Budgets and report back to the Village Board. In addition the CBC "may also review Village borrowing and investments, making recommendations as needed, and may take on special projects as required by the Board." With the goal of identifying "possible economies through study of the Budgets, comparisons to other similar municipalities and exploration of opportunities for shared services in a non-partisan manner" the Committee has quickly enacted a number of steps. Sub-committees were established to study individual department budgets. CBC members then attended specific budget workshop sessions and held meetings and discussions with the heads of each department. In their own words, "CBC members have spent considerable time studying and analyzing the various departmental budgets." For its part the Village of Irvington has allowed the Committee members full access to all documents supporting the budgets. It will also provide the CBC with actual expenditures so that comparisons can be made with the budget. The Committee will have scheduled meetings once per quarter to perform these reviews. Any additional meetings will be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

In keeping with the realization that community service is best done with short spurts of intense interest, the terms for each member will be 2 years. Membership will always come from the community with a special effort made in soliciting residents with financial or municipal governance experience.

The report presented by Irvington’s Citizen’s Budget Committee to the Mayor and Board of Trustees will, in the near future, find its way back to the residents in an abbreviated and easily understood form, according to Mayor Malloy.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento