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Revenue From Sewers May Not Cover Legal Bills

November 1, 2005


As a member of Holy Name of Mary parish, I am concerned about its finances. The sewage tax proposed by Mayor Schmidt will need to be addressed in two ways. First, to raise the money for the tax, I have suggested to our pastor that we increase the amount that the village pays to the church for its lease of the parking lot behind the church. If the estimated tax is $500, we should charge the village that amount plus costs of accounting, et cetera. If this cannot be done until the lease is up for renewal in 2007, the church can tally the bills and add some interest payment.

Second, the pastor and others in Croton’s non-profit community have agreed to join in a lawsuit to be brought against the tax. They are to be represented by an attorney working pro bono publico, i.e., for the public good. There is a principle involved here that establishes why we do not impose taxes on institutions that work for the public good.

The Republican majority knows of this probable legal battle but seems determined to raise the tax on November 7. With Metro-North stating that it will not pay the tax, the revenue from the sewers may not cover the impending legal bills.

— Joe Slakas

On November 3, 2005 5:17 PM, notorc said:

I interpret the definition of the sewer district differntly. I believe I do not have to pay since the sewer system is not available to me. If it is “available” and you chose not to connect, you still have to pay. Believe me, I really wish I could connect and get rid of the worries and maintenance of a septic system.

In the end, one thing’s for sure, there aren’t enough details.

If Leo’s analysis is correct, I don’t think this whole mess is worth the potentially $50 a year I won’t be charged. Believe me, I have no misconceptions that my taxes will go down accordingly.

I usually support pay-as-you-go schemas but if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense.

On November 2, 2005 4:16 PM, Stu said:

Mr. notorc seems to think because he has a septic system he isn’t going to pay the sewer rent. The way the law is written, people on septic, who use Village water, are still going to pay a sewer rent fee even though they have no sewer connection.

On November 2, 2005 9:48 AM, poppins said:

Mr. Slakas is right. Some how, some way, the non-profits as well as businesses will cover their losses and rightfully so. The only ones unable to cover the increase are the simple taxpayers.

Increasing the rents charged for use of church properties is only one way to do it. Obviously pleas will go out to congregations to increase their contributions, rents will be raised, service charges will be increased. And all this will be passed onto the backs of Croton residents.

As the saying goes - if it’s not broken then don’t fix it.

On November 2, 2005 9:39 AM, cherrio said:

Croton begins to sound more and more like Washington DC. We hear nothing directly from our Mayor and Village Board. All the information (misinformation) we get is from the spin doctors.

I was disappointed to hear the Mayor announce at the public hearing that this was something he felt very strongly about. Now that he’s heard the negative impact his new tax would create, let’s hope he withdraws his proposal or that he gets a majority vote opposing it.

On November 2, 2005 8:32 AM, culliganman said:

Hello JT. I don’t care about the sewer fees. I wanted to address the lie that my church was leading the charge to sue the village, i.e., me and my family, as represented by Mr. Slakas in his letter to this blog, as well as the implication that other churches were joining in. Frrom what I have heard they don’t like the implication one bit. I also still want to know who the other non-profits are in Croton that Mr. Slakas claims plans to sue village residents. If it is the CHN, which pays next to no taxes and which is subsidized by my tax dollars whether I agree with them or not, I want to know. I also want to know who the lawyer is that has agreed to represent all these unknown “Croton non-profits”, again as stated as fact in Mr Slakas letter.

On November 1, 2005 11:37 PM, Jeff T. said:

Culliganman,

You’ve settled everything. Nobody’s opposed to the sewer tax, there aren’t more than 2 non-profits in Croton (besides churches), and Holy Name of Mary Church is in the forfront of cheerleading all the other places of worship into an easy passage of this tax!

Neither of you addressed the fact that Holy Name will just raise parking rents and the Village won’t get the money anyway. What sense does it make?

On November 1, 2005 9:10 PM, culliganman said:

Thank you notorc. I too was surprised by Mr. Slakas’s assertions since I too heard what Father Mike had to say. That’s why we all called the church and asked because we knew this could not be right. If there is going to be a lawsuit, we have now settled that Holy Name isn’t inerested in participating. We also spoke to the other churches. They have no interest either. One church elder said this is not a tax, it’s a fee like water is so they saw no problem. Since there aren’t very many non-profits in Croton, I too question the source of this lawsuit. You can look on the web and see who the Croton non-profits are and there aren’t many that would be affected other than the Croton housing network which pays next to no taxes anyway. Other than that, what other non-profits are involved in this supposed lawsuit? I think the answer might prove very interesting. As one resident put it, how terrible to involve the church in something like this when the church has made it clear: there is no lawsuit involving them.

On November 1, 2005 7:32 PM, notorc said:

I think what many folks fail to consider is there are several homes in the Village which are not connected to the sewer system. If you walk into the office of Public Works, on the far left is (was) a map with the sewer mains laid out. They don’t go up Mount Airy and very far past the intersection of Grand/Maple. Areas near the Croton River are also below the flow of gravity. I know because I wanted desperately to connect to the sewer system rather than face the repairs on my septic. Instead, I finance the sewers and pay ~$400/year to pump my system….again I’d love to be rid of this headache!

I wonder how many home owners like myself are supporting sewers yet wished they had them.

In regards the not-for-profits, look at it this way. They will ask their participants to donate a few dollars more and it will still be tax deductable.

And BTW - If you heard Father Mike speak at the meeting, you’d realize he isn’t (wasn’t) interested in making waves…he disagreed to the sewer tax “in principle”. That says to me, he understands the need to charge those who actually use the facilities.

I question the source of this “lawsuit”.

On November 1, 2005 5:33 PM, culliganman said:

Please know that we have just spoken with the parish. According to the secretary, the pastor has NOT agreed to this lawsuit. Any lawsuit would require the permission of the archdiocese. In addition, these other members of the non-profit community do not include the Lutheran or Methodist churches to our knowledge.

Second, as Mayor Schmidt has said repeatedly, the purpose of these hearings is to get public input and then make apopropriate decisions. Threatening to launch a lawsuit before this matter has even been voted on (while Holy Name seeks $1.8 million dollars from the very residents it allegedly is going to sue—by default), as has been represented here and as erroneously represented here as well according to Holy Name, is extremely inappropriate.

Third, I am curious as to who these other non-profits are. Is it possible to provide a list of who they are?

Fourth, a copy of this letter has been sent to the parish. As a parishoner of Holy Name myself, I felt this was the appropriate thing to do. Posting this on the blog and citing this as a “Republican” issue is simply wrong.



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