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Village of Croton-on-Hudson Proposes 9.43 Percent Tax Rate Increase

March 21, 2006


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During the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting held on March 20, 2006, Village Manager Rick Herbek presented the Mayor and Trustees with the proposed 2006-2007 General Fund Budget. The proposed budget—pegged at $14,013,996—is reflective of a 9.43% property tax increase where village residents could pay $208.88 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, $17.99 higher than 2005-2006.

Mr. Herbek noted several contributing factors to the higher than expected budget proposal that include a recent reduction in property taxes for the Hudson National Golf Club from $242,888 to $81,051—a difference of $161,836—and a subsequent refund of $650,000 for overpayments of taxes in previous years. He also made note of increased labor and benefit costs, ongoing legal expenses—totaling nearly 1.5 million to date—for litigation in both the Millennium Pipeline and Metro Enviro/NIR matters, and an expiring Teamsters contract on May 31, 2006.

The Board of Trustees will convene next week to begin its review of the Budget presented by Mr. Herbek and Treasurer Abraham J. Zambrano.

On November 25, 2006 3:41 PM, The Watchdog said:

In response to the comment made by “Notorc” about the Fire Department.

The Village paid for a study in the early 1990s to discuss the structuring of the Fire Department. In it’s findings, it was believed to be BETTER to put the men and trucks in more then one location, strategically placed around Croton. It further stated that the positioning of the stations could reduce home insurance rates due to their close proximities to homes.

Additionally, where would all of their resources go? What piece of land in Croton is big enough and centrally located to fullfill this “dream?” Further, which of the current fire stations would make a good community center - none of them have ample parking!!!

If you’re looking to reduce our taxes the solution is simple, spend less. Creating another fire station to outfit everything would cost between 10 & 20 million dollars depending on what exactly was built. Look at other communities like North Castle, where fire companies there built two enormous and over-the-top fire stations for huge amounts of money!

Don’t you think that we can find other ways to reduce our taxes. Some thoughts that come to me are reducing the overtime of the Police with their boat. Stop pissing money into fighting over the 1A Croton Point Avenue property. Install parking meters in the upper village shopping areas - perhaps that could ease our woes?!

On March 24, 2006 12:11 PM, Just The Facts said:

Notorc:

I agree with you fully on all counts (with one small exception). I agree that a cost benefit should be done, I agree that a moratorium on new permits should be in place, I agree that nothing should be done if it doesn’t maximize a return, I also agree that outside funds should be looked for.

My one exception is this: In the three months that have passed since January, not one of these ideas have been discussed other than perhaps at a closed door work session. Instead all we got from Mayor Schmidt’s administration was that “we are prioritizing it”. Trust me, if the democratic majority doesn’t start talking about upon taking office, they will be criticized by me as well.

Something needs to be done before the village becomed embroiled in another litigation (as a defendent in a class action lawsuit from car owners whose automobiles were damaged).

On March 24, 2006 11:36 AM, notorc said:

Oh, one more thing, I’m not wondering why the tax increase is 10%…it’s right there in black and white. The golf course, litigation and the decaying infrastructure (water & sewer) seem to be key players.

I’m more curious as to what’s being done to stop the leak before we have a financial flood.

On March 24, 2006 11:31 AM, notorc said:

Actually, I’ve been parking at the lot for nearly six years. Not much has changed down there. The flooding didn’t begin when Mayor Schmidt was elected and it’s apparently not an easy problem to solve.

True, prioritizing is an issue…I too would like to see the lot finally addressed. However, at what cost? What’s the ROI on fixing a few spaces? All-in-all, I’d rather not spend the money if it doesn’t make sense.

I don’t think it’s fair to blame this on Mayor Schmidt or even Ex-Mayor Elliott. The issue has been ignored by trustees and residents for decades. Like you said, prioritizing is the key…until we make it a priority, it won’t be fixed.

Personally, at this point in time, the parking lot is a relatively small issue.

To address it, I’d start by issuing no new permits AND doing a cost/benefit analysis of fixing the spaces and/or building a garage….with ramp access to route 9. I’d also pressure Metro North to assist with parking. Afterall, they have a big stake in providing parking for their patrons. Could county or state transportation funds apply? Based on the number of non-resident permits, this is not just a Croton issue.

On March 24, 2006 10:51 AM, Just The Facts said:

Hey Notorc,

I am with you in wondering why the tax rate has to increase by 10%.

But with respect to Mayor bashing, I have to disagree. You probably don’t park at the train station lot, if you did, you would know that as a village resident you are paying $540 per year in ADDITION to town taxes. One should note that this amount is substantially more than most other communities charge for their residents to park at their town’s commuter lots.

So, what do we get for this ADDITIONAL $540 per year????? NOTHING. Not a dime is spent back into a facility that by my calculations account for close to 15% of the town’s revenue ($2M of $14M). In addition, the lot is in such poor condition that the town has not even repainted traffic markings — let alone the flooding condition that hasn’t been dealt with (costing some residents thousands of dollars more in repair bills). How would that make you feel? It should be noted that one of the first things Mayor Schmidt did on taking office was to INCREASE parking fees. Of course him and his buddy Steinberg didn’t care because they drive to work.

This is only compounded by the outright lies and deceptions that the Schmidt administration has been perpitrating on Crotonites. “Prioritizing”, etc. Its garbage and Mayor Schmidt needs to know it. You can call this bashing all you want, but Mayor Schmidt needs to be held accountable and something needs to be done about this situation THIS YEAR and not in 2007.

On March 24, 2006 9:23 AM, notorc said:

Now that the election is over, can we stop bashing Mayor Schmidt and start talking about yet another 10% increase? Who here increases their pay 10% per year? If you do, congratulations, you’re a rare breed. Also, our water bills are going up 8%.

In reviewing the budget, it seems there are two major contributing factors (and many minor factors). First, the golf course. I’m sure when Attny Waldman reccommended the settlement, he had faith it was the best course. It sounds like it’s time to pay the piper. Fine. However, I think the village should go after the golf course for all the drainage problems we’ve paid to fix on Brook street. Many feel these were caused by the golf course. Don’t forget, I’m sure school taxes will increase as a result of this. Hopefully it won’t have as much of an impact on the school’s ~35M budget vs the village’s 14M.

Another factor is litigation. We spent 765k on the pipeline and 736k on ME. I’m all for protecting the village but perhaps we need to re-think this. Would it have been more prudent to allow utilities supporting NYC/Westchester to be placed here in return for a higher tax base? It’s probably too late for that now so let’s forget it. What I would like to see is our elected officials find a business to fill the unique spot between a highway and railroad. There has to be someone who could benefit and in turn increase our tax base. Residents can’t be burdened with everything, we need businesses as well.

In regards to businesses, what about Metro North? I understand they are a state agency and not subject to tax. However, they use our roads, our police and firefighters. Am i missing something or is MN getting a free ride? Perhaps they could help us fix our flooding issue. They have alot of fill and equipment on site.

Here’s a simple question. Can the $500k grant (matched to our $350k) really be diverted to the flooding issue or was that election rheteric? I’d like an answer to that please. Alternatively, perhaps it doesn’t make fiscal sense to fix the problem. What’s the ROI? It might be more prudent to rope the area off and sell less permits…something MN might not want to see happen ;)

And speaking of fire fighters…who thinks it’s a bit redundant to have three firehouses in this tiny village? With the advent of fire safety, smoke detectors, wired alarm systems, etc., are they really that busy? Busy enough to justify three firehouses within a mile? I’m sure any one of them would make a lovely community center :o

Anyway, I’m done for now. I’m glad I had a chance to vent. While I love living here and I don’t mind it costing a “small fortune”, I’d like to keep that “small fortune” contained.

Happy Friday!

On March 23, 2006 2:17 PM, Reality Check said:

Time for another Reality Check.

Hey “Just the Facts”, this one’s for you.

I haven’t read the budget yet but, assuming you are correct in your assesment, it is easy to explain. Mr. Schmidt simply said he was ‘prioritizing’ the parking lot work. He never said it was getting a high priority or even that it would ever get done. Let’s face it, some things in all our lives have such a low priority that they never get reached.

So you see, even if there is not a penny in the budget for the parking lot, Mr. Schmidt was completely honest with us.

And that, my friend, is a Reality Check.

On March 23, 2006 12:59 PM, Just The Facts said:

Correct me if I am wrong here, but if I read the budget correctly, with regard to the flooding at the parking lot which Mayor Schmidt and his administration is supposedly “Prioritizing” (as quoted in the Journal News), I come away with the following:

Projected Parking Lot Revenue $1,953,000

Projected Direct Expenditures through June 2007 $0.00

What is the deal with this? How can anyone claim to be prioritizing the parking lot situation and allocate ZERO to the issue. If I am misreading this (and I am hoping I am), please someone correct me.

If I am correct in my assessment, I really would like to know how Mayor Schmidt’s administration can claim anything other than complete failure and avoidance of any progress whatsoever regarding the parking lot situation.

On March 23, 2006 11:31 AM, TeaDrinker said:

The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2006-2007 is now available online at the village website by clicking here.

On March 21, 2006 9:48 AM, Just The Facts said:

9.43% !!!!!!!!

This from the administration that Jim Steinberg calls “our administration” full of openess? This from the administration that is supposed to keep taxes in line?

Where is the outrage from the conservatives among us? Mr. W, do you care to join in the dissaproval of this large hike in taxes?

Once again, the current GOP controlled administration has proven that they can’t even fulfill the limited promises they made last year… people please don’t believe for one second that another year of the Schmidt/Steinberg administration will benefit croton taypayers and residents.

Go to the polls and vote on performance and whether you are happy with the “progress” that has (or has not) occured over the past year.

On March 21, 2006 8:33 AM, SSmith said:

i find it astounding that the republican led board can figure out a way to give Hudson National a refund on overpayment of taxes to the tune of $650,000 but they can’t do the same for our senior citizens who actually need the small amounts they are entitled to for day to day living.

something is wrong with this picture of OPEN GOVERNMENT.

let’s have another round of dr. peppers to figure this one out…….NOT.



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