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Pound Ridge Town Board Passes Budget With 3.7% Tax Hike

Pound Ridge Director of Finance Steve Conti, left, gives presentation during Thursday night's budget deliberations.
Pound Ridge Director of Finance Steve Conti, left, gives presentation during Thursday night's budget deliberations. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Town Board approved a 2013 budget Thursday night calling for a 3.7 percent tax increase.

That translates into a rate of $13.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a property assessed at $150,000 would pay $2,002 in taxes, $72 more than last year.

Prior to approving the budget, the board passed a local law enabling it to exceed the state-imposed 2 percent cap on property tax increases.

The budget approval and the tax cap legislation were both passed following public hearings that attracted no community input.

The $7.2 million budget includes $2.23 million in revenue, meaning $4.9 million will need to be raised by taxes – a 3.4 percent increase from 2012.

The 2013 budget marks the first time in several years that the board did not use money from its fund balance (a contingency reserve for emergencies) to pay off debts. The fund balance currently stands at about $1 million.

“2009 was the first year since I’ve been here that we needed to use the fund balance [to balance the budget]. Now, four years later, we’ve been able to balance the budget without it,” said Steve Conti, Pound Ridge’s director of finance. “Our fund balance is at about 14 percent [of appropriations] – which, according to New York State criteria, puts us right on the fringe of an excellent score. Next year, we can start adding back to the fund balance.

“That’s the nice thing,” Conti continued. “If we out-perform this budget, we will be able to increase the fund balance.”

This year’s budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for town employees.

“We’ve been frugal in our spending over the last few years,” said Supervisor Gary Warshauer. “Our major resource is our employees, so we are giving modest [pay] increases to the staff this year.”

Board member Dan Paschkes said the town has continued to reduce spending over the past several years.

“Appropriations are lower than what we spent in 2011, 2010 and 2009,” he said. “We are cutting it close to the bone. Most of [the spending] comes from things we cannot control. If we hadn’t been as frugal as we have been historically, it would be a lot more painful now.”

“This is a fair budget and it gets us to where we want to be,” Warshauer added.

This year’s major budget expenditures include:

  • Repayment of bonds (pool house, Sach’s Park, recycling center and sidewalks) – $153,050.
  • Repayment of installment debt – $44,178.
  • Police overnight shifts – $35,000.
  • Advanced life support (paramedic service) – $108,550.
  • Road maintenance and pool repair – $300,000.

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