Cortlandt town officials used Republican New York State Senator Greg Ball’s visit to their town board meeting last night as an opportunity to ask him questions about Albany’s decisions that affect their town. Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi and council members asked him questions about the two percent property tax cap, cuts to Medicaid, hydrofracking and new grants.
The visit was Ball’s ninth stop on his Town Hall tour, which aims to visit all 22 towns in the state’s 40th District that he represents.
Councilman John Sloan ended the evening’s questions with a criticism of the state’s imposed two percent property tax cap.
“This was Albany’s idea and it is left to us and the school district to thrash it out,” Sloan told Ball. “It is going to cause meaningful anguish and will have negative consequences,” he added, noting that it most likely means that jobs and programs will have to be cut. “I think that it is callous.”
Senator Greg Ball responded by saying that while Cortlandt may be a fiscally conservative municipality; others around the state are not.
“You have been making tough decisions, but that has not been happening in all places.”
Ball added: "Even if we fundametnally disagree, I'm here to help. We have to do something about taxes. We're number one in all the wrong categories in this state. The dream of America home ownership is a nightmare. The tax structure is ripping communities apart. The property tax cap over time will bring an equilibrium."
Ball invited the board members to be part of an advisory board that will work to oversee the tax cap. Supervisor Puglisi told the senator that she would like for Cortlandt to be used as an example, as it has “implemented its own tax cap,” with an average of a .6 percent raise in taxes each year for the last twenty years, she said.
Puglisi also asked Ball what the status of hydrofracking was in the state senate, which he answered with a lengthy story about a trip he took to Pennsylvania earlier that day. He said he saw farmers and others who have been devastated by hydrofracking from contaminated water and wells. Ball said there are two sides to the issue, but “what I am suggesting is that we do not allow that, do not allow people to be devastated by it.”
The senator also discussed his record and views on mandate relief, the MTA Payroll tax, Albany reform, Homeland Security and Veteran’s issues, which you can read about on his website.
Supervisor Puglisi thanked the senator for helping in the fight to and for working to repeal the MTA Payroll tax, which costs the town $50,000 a year.
Following the meeting about ten community members met with Sen. Ball in the town’s conference room to ask about their specific concerns.
Senator Ball is scheduled to visit Peekskill's City Hall as part of his Town Hall Tour on Sept. 19.