Looking Ahead, Tarrytown Prepares for 2010 Budget

Village residents have the option of paying Village taxes in two parts each year, once before June 30th and again before December 31st or they can simply pay it all at once prior to June 30th.

Coincident with these dates, the Village must prepare its annual budget by March 20 and have it approved by May 1st. Whatever payment system is used, residents can take little solace in the fact that they are paying into a County tax system that, for the second year in a row, ranks highest in the nation according to the most recent Census numbers.

Total tax receipts from residents include a bill from the Town of Greenburgh plus another sent out by the Town of Greenburgh and the Town of Mt. Pleasant for the school system. Village taxes represent the third bill sent to residents and, like the other bills, contain individual contracts and agreements which continue to rise. As such, Village Administrator Michael Blau and the Board of Trustees have asked that the Village begin now to analyze what expenses can be postponed, delayed or even cut out as the new budget is prepared. Items like pensions, tax certioraris, and village debt service will be closely examined as to possible changes in payment scheduling.

Certain income streams to the Village such as mortgage taxation and County sales taxes will certainly be affected by a shifting economy. Blau and Village Treasurer Jim Hart also point out that citizens and Village officials alike are concerned about the continuous rise in annual expenditure totals. One official suggested that going to an income tax system could determine a more fair and up-to-date method of providing funds. In addition, combining adjacent village services such as plowing, garbage collection, and even the possibility of regional athletic fields, are finally receiving focus as Town and Village costs rise. A major consolidation is right now being considered between Tarrytown and Briarcliff Manor in a new water system that is currently proposed for the Tarrytown Lakes water treatment location. Plans now call for water from the upstate NewYork "Catskill" system to be sent into the Tarrytown property and piped over to Briarcliff. Sleepy Hollow is already part of the system.

Overall, the question of when does the ever-increasing taxation slow down is becoming strident. Officials in many villages are cutting back on some jobs, not filling others. In fact, many older citizens are starting to move away from high tax areas. Why very little has been done about the current taxation system is, as one veteran Village official put it, "that people just got into a habit of paying for increases without thinking about changing the system". Hopefully, that’s now starting to get long overdue attention.

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About the Author: Arnold Thiesfeldt