2013-2014 Village Budgets: Sleepy Hollow

2013-2014 budgets Sleepy HollowSleepy Hollow is going over the tax levy cap for the second year in a row.  On its surface, that simple statement gives one a certain impression of reckless spending run amuck, but that impression is unjustified.

The tax rate increase for the coming budget will be a hair under 4.22%, which is actually less than the 4.82% tax rate increase in Tarrytown and the 8.51% increase the Mount Pleasant residents of Briarcliff Manor will see this year. Yet both of those Villages are coming in under the tax cap.

Confusing, isn’t it? The formula for coming up with a municipality’s ultimate allowable tax levy increase is not the easiest thing to understand. There are exemptions and carryovers and it almost never ends up at the fabled 2%. For Sleepy Hollow, this year’s number came out to approximately 2.96%, meaning the Village was allowed to raise an additional $178,675 on top of last year’s tax levy and still remain under the cap. Unfortunately, in order to provide the same services, Sleepy Hollow needed $296,833 over last year’s total, driving the Village over the cap.

The drivers are the same as they are everywhere: employee pensions and health insurance costs. And making the matter worse was the usual culprit of a loss in assessment value. “Last year our total taxable assessment was $246,751,600,” says Village Treasurer Sara DiGiacomo. “This year it’s $245,054,055. We lost [nearly] $1.7 million in taxable

While no one can tell the future, DiGiacomo believes help is on the horizon in the form of new developments, including Water’s Edge and even the old standby, GM. “I have to say we’re as close as we’ve ever been,” she says. “I really don’t know where the permit stands… we don’t have any of that information, unfortunately. But we’re as close as we’ve ever been. It would definitely add to the tax levy.”

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About the Author: David Neilsen