Letter to the Editor: The Truth About Cortlandt United

To the editor,

Cortlandt Republican Party Chair Dan Pagano seems to believe that he has uncovered a wide-ranging conspiracy by the entire government of Cortlandt to “lie to everyone about the financial conditions of the Town.” Fortunately for Cortlandt residents, Dan is just a little bit confused. Maybe Dan’s just engaging in wishful thinking because it’s an election year and he’s desperate to find an issue for the misleadingly named “Cortlandt United” slate – which is really just another name for the Conservative / Republican slate.

We’ve been lucky to have decades of effective, Democratic leadership by retiring Supervisor Linda Puglisi. Over Linda’s 30 years in office, property tax increases have averaged just under 1% per year; over the last ten years that number is less than 1.4%. We’ve never broken the tax cap and our tax base has grown. That’s why our most recent audit won an award from New York State, and it’s why Moody’s just increased our bond rating to Aa1. At the same time we’ve made huge investments in our quality of life and the quality of the public services we provide.

That strong record is a big part of why Supervisor Puglisi was either unopposed or won in a landslide in every recent election. Now that she’s not running, Dan seems to think that if he repeats a set of untruths loudly enough he can make them come true and win her seat.

It is difficult to know where to start with a set of claims as outlandish and untrue as those Dan is making. But let’s make it simple: Cortlandt has NEVER had a budget deficit at any point in recent memory and has a growing fund balance. The idea that Town taxes are up 25% in the last few years as Dan claims is pure fiction. Don’t fall for it. If you want to build on Linda’s legacy of strong fiscal management, vote for the Cortlandt Forward slate on Row A, the Democratic line. Early voting begins October 23 and Election Day is November 2.

To be fair to Dan, perhaps he’s so confused because one local entity has raised taxes in recent years: The HenHud school district under the watch of former Trustee and current Republican candidate for Supervisor Laurie Ryan. If Dan wishes to complain about those tax increases, I’m sure he knows where to find Laurie – there’s no need to send a letter to this paper or post more misleading or outright false attacks on Facebook.

Sincerely,

Maria F. Slippen, Chair
Cortlandt Democratic Committee

4 Comments

  1. Maria Slippen. i am not confused, the 2020 Town Fiscal report, demonstrates that my FACTS are true and you are not telling truth…i think it is time to take these facts to another forum ….Very disappointing that a town chairperson would mislead the voters….LAST YEARS DEFICIT FOR TOWN OF CORTLANDT WAS OVER Seven Million dollars….OVER SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. these are facts… YOU ARE TELLING LIES… These facts are available on the Town website at the Comptroller Tab. See 2020 Fiscal Report. ALSO GO TO THE 2021 AND 2020 ADOPTED BUDGET TO SEE THE HUGE PAY INCREASES GIVEN TO ELECTED OFFICIALS.

  2. Maria Slippen the Audit reward you refer to was for the quality of the Fiscal Report i rely upon for the facts i have presented …this award is not an opinion for the poor fiscal management that is a fact for the Town of Cortlandt. The bond rating is a function of debt not budget deficits. flat tax base and declining budget funds..

  3. Tomorrow i will be posting the facts from Town of Cortlandt 2021 and 2020 Fiscal report and The 2021 and 2020 adopted budget. Maria Slippen. i respectfully request that you retract your false slander directed at me personally. i give you this chance to correct a legal harm here. thank you

  4. Cortlandt has borrowed money from its savings every year. It is what the Town did to not “raise” taxes. School districts do the same thing – not uncommon. But to say our taxes have not increased is just not true. Of course, they have. I have no beef with the budget except we have to stop borrowing from our savings. My concern is that the Town Board approved raises over the last year ranging from 5% to 25%. Let’s also remember, and this is the biggest difference between the Town and a school district, that the Town budget is not voted upon. The Town does not hold budget sessions open to the public barring one, I believe. Therefore, the residents do not have a say.

    Hendrick Hudson School District taxes have remained under 1% for 8 out of the last 10 years. We hold budget meetings open to the public and discuss each section of the budget. We had been discussing the closure of Indian Point for more than 3 years. We reached out to the community every year to see what they were willing to keep/cut out of their children’s education and they VOTED to not cut anything. They VOTED yes even though the Hendrick Hudson School district was losing a decreasing $23million in PILOT payments annually. They VOTED yes to a 5.9% increase two years ago and a 4.5% increase in May 2021. They had a VOTE.

    School budgets have a community vote, Town budgets do not.

    Lest we forget that Gov Cuomo fought to close Indian Point and none of our state or local leaders fought to keep it. We lost jobs, we lost clean energy, we lost a ton of revenue and we lost all the goodies that came with having Indian Point. Have you checked your kilowatt-hour price these days? And now we rightly have concerns over Holtec and the process of dismantling a nuclear power plant. -The trucks and traffic, the toxicity, the demolition, the noise, the potential dangers.

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