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On our wise and cautious stewardship

February 13, 2009

Dear Fellow Croton Residents:

Did you know that all the pundits, experts and economists alike state that we have been in a recession for over a year now? Combine that with lower state sales tax revenue, declining mortgage tax income, reduced County revenue sharing and a few court decisions granting lower assessments to several property owners due to poor planning before the Schmidt Administration took control and you might agree with the spin from our opponents that Croton was in sad financial straits!

Nothing could be further from the truth! In spite of these obstacles, our administration’s wise and cautious stewardship resulted in steady tax reductions in 3 of the last 4 years when we were in the majority! (In the year that our opponents held the majority, they actually spent slightly more than the tentative budget called for.) Currently, through extraordinary financial management, we have a healthy $3.75 million surplus (that’s 26% of our operating budget) which can be used to minimize tax increases in the upcoming fiscal 2009-2010 budget. In addition to other monetary controls, we have deferred some capital expenses until other loans expire to prevent overlapping expenditures. The bottom line is that through prudent fiscal management, we are in great shape financially and our credit rating is excellent.

All of us are impacted adversely if taxes increase! We don’t want that any more than you and are committed to assuring that your tax dollars are well accounted for while maintaining the best quality of life. We remain positive about Village’s prospects now and for the future.

— Mayor Greg Schmidt, Trustee Susan Konig, Trustee Tom Brennan

On February 18, 2009 9:09 AM, Leo Wiegman said:

FYI: Here is the letter we published in The Gazette, the week before, Feb 4, 2009.

Dear Croton Neighbors,

Did you know…? In 2009 the County tax rate will increase only 1.77% and the Town of Cortlandt tax rate for Croton village residents will increase only 1.35%. It is not surprising that the village anticipates a similarly low tax increase for 2009-2010.

But this is the calm before the fiscal storm looming just over the horizon. Croton faces a triple storm, not this spring, but next spring: Rising cost mandates, falling property value, shrinking revenue from non-property tax sources.

Several key costs and revenues are lagging indicators that hit municipal and school district budgets one year after they rise or fall:

  1. Today’s drop in state sales tax revenue will not reduce revenue to the village until next year.

  2. Today’s drop in property sales will likewise not be felt until next year when mortgage tax revenue declines.

  3. Today’s drop in home prices will be followed by a rise in successful tax grievance cases. The resulting lower assessments will not raise everyone else’s tax burden until next year.

  4. Today’s declines on Wall Street mean the village’s pension contributions will have to make up the difference. That alone could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the village’s budget for 2010.

Claiming we are in great financial shape today is like whistling past the graveyard. We need to do more now to better prepare for this coming perfect storm.

— Leo Wiegman, Ian Murtaugh, Demetra Restucia, candidates for Mayor and Village Trustees.

On February 13, 2009 2:20 PM, storck said:

I am highly insulted by this statement from the Republican pary. Here is the simple solution — vote them out in March!

On February 13, 2009 1:12 PM, Truth Hurts said:

This letter is pure garbage! I cannot believe they would post this for EVERYONE to see. I have been following candidate comments and whether or not they are true on Check out what they said about this letter.

1) The fund balance referred to in this statement is correct, however it is the direct result of the following:

$1.4 million transferred from the Water Fund (infrastructure reserve fund) to the General Fund

Reduced litigation costs regarding 1A Croton Point Avenue due to the eviction of Buffalo Southern Railroad by the property owner Greentree Realty

Additional revenue from aggressive increases in parking and recreation fees

We do not see this as “extraordinary financial management” but rather a combination of creative accounting, luck, and the systematic overcharging of village residents for services.

2) “Our administration’s wise and and cautious stewardship resulted in steady tax reductions in 3 of the last 4 years when we were in the majority!” This statement is completely inaccurate. Village property taxes over the last four years have risen 20%, an average of 5% per year.

Schmidt, Brennan and Konig must think we are all so stupid that we wont check these statements out. I didn’t take the Fact Checker on at face value, but did some investigating on my own initially. It is DEAD ON! This letter is an absolute joke!

On February 13, 2009 1:55 PM, Anonymous Too said:

Truth Hurts,

Be sure to catch this video of Mayor Do Nothing at a recent Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce luncheon:

Boy, this guy can sure talk a lot…while saying nothing of value.

Plus, all of the personal achievements he likes to tout, were projects started by those before him. Like, Benedict Blvd., brown-water remediation, Croton Landing, for example.


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