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My Take on Croton's Village Budget Public Hearing

April 13, 2006

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
Mr. Wintermeier presented some interesting thoughts and suggestions for consideration by the board at last Mondays public hearing on the 2006-2007 budget. I’m certain they were appreciated and taken under consideration. He then applauded the previous Republican majority on that board (Schmidt, Brennan and Steinberg) with drastically reducing the tax increase in the 2005-2006 budget. However, the facts are as follows:

As always, and to their credit and hard work, the Village Manager, Treasurer and department heads always massage and cut the original budget to bare bones BEFORE presenting it to any board. New and inexperienced or proven leaders are hard put to find areas to cut even further.

The Village Manager and Treasurer notified the sitting board months BEFORE they began the budget process that the increase MIGHT be as high as 17%, This was based on State estimates of retirement, benefit costs and energy prices.

That estimate mercifully turned out to be incorrect and the State adjusted the figures downward BEFORE any budget was presented.

Thus, the new and inexperienced board (Mayor Schmidt, Trustees Brennan and Steinberg) inherited NOT a 17% but a 12% proposed increase from the proven leaders (Mayor Elliott, Trustees Wiegman and Grant).

The new and inexperienced board then made the decision to remove one police car, one patrolman, and $350,000 from the parking lot improvement project, thus reducing the tax increase to just under 10%.

This may or may not have been a wise decision because it simply delayed the purchase of the police car and the hiring of an additional officer until this year. We pay now instead of then.

Finally, the $350,000 for the parking lot improvement project was put off yet another year. Its clear that people are anxious to move forward with this needed project, both to improve dangerous traffic flow and to remediate the flooding. The longer it is put off, the more expensive it will become.

In addition, residents should be prepared to pay in the neighborhood of a new 15% sewer tax based on your water usage which will be reflected in your next water bill.

— Georgianna Grant, X Trustee and one of the proven leaders referred to by Mr. Wintermeier


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