Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi is proposing a tentative budget of just under $37 million for 2013.
The spending plan is 1.4 percent, or a little less than $527,000, more than this year’s budget and the tax levy, which is expected to be a shade under $19.8 million, will increase by 2 percent.
“In summary, the bottom line is it’s still a very, very low town tax increase for our residents and another year of low town tax increases,” Cortlandt town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said Friday during a budget presentation. “Put it all together….always a surplus, never a deficit and we have three times the amount of savings in our budget that we had when I first began.”
Town officials will have work sessions throughout this month and part of December for the budget proposal. The town board must pass the budget by Dec. 20, according to state law.
The average property owner would pay about $33.45 more in taxes annually under the plan if they live in the town, about $4.75 more if they live in the Village of Buchanan and about $7.28 more if they live in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson.
“The two villages receive some services from the Town of Cortlandt government,” said Puglisi, who is serving her 22nd year as supervisor. “They have their own governments— But they do receive some services from the town and, therefore, they pay some taxes to the Town of Cortlandt.”
Puglisi said town taxes made up about 11 percent of a resident’s annual tax bill, while school taxes make up about 69 percent, Westchester County taxes make up about 15 percent and special districts make up about 5 percent.
Although the town could increase its tax levy by about 2.3 percent under the state tax cap provision, Puglisi said.
Puglisi said the projected increase in next year’s budget are the result of rising mandated payments to the state retirement system, contractual obligations to employees, health insurance costs, fuel and gasoline prices.
Payments to the employee retirement system are expected to increase by about $242,000 to $2.1 million. That increase alone represents about 46 percent of the overall budget increases planned for next year.
We also have approximately 200 employees , full-time and part-time, in our town....There are two unions and contracts are still being negotiated, so we can’t tell you what any salary increases would be, if at all, for this year,” Puglisi said.
Puglisi also noted that the town’s fund balance (reserve fund), which has tripled over the last 20 years, from $5 million in 1992 to $15 million today.
From 1992 to 2013, the time period Puglisi has served as supervisor, the average tax levy increase has been less than one percent. During 12 of those years, the levy increase has been 0 or less.