Ossining Village Passes 2013 Budget, Overrides Tax Cap

Board members spoke out against the state-mandated tax levy cap on Tuesday.

Village of Ossining residents are looking at a 4.12 percent increase in the tax rate in 2013—a figure officials estimate will cost the average homeowner $3,399.85.*

This 3.19 percent jump coincides with the village's projected 2.32 percent increase in total revenues versus the 2012 adopted budget.

The village board unanimously agreed on adopting the $30,744,663 2013 budget at its Tuesday meeting.

"The formulation of this budget has been even more difficult than that submitted for 2012, as a result of several factors, including the cumulative impact of the tax cap enacted by the State of New York, as well as by the imposition of charges that continue to escalate far beyond what any municipality could reasonable be able to absorb, at the same time maintaining services required and expected by residents and taxpayers," Village Manager Richard A. Leins wrote to the mayor and board in his presentation of the tentative budget.

The total $30.74 million budget represents an overall increase of 2.32 percent compared to the village's adopted 2012 figure.

"This was my last budget...and the process started off I thought easy, but every year it got more and more grueling as more and more had to be taken from the budget," stated Trustee Marlene Cheatham, whose term expires on December 31. "I don't think next year is going to get any easier and I feel sorry for you."

Leins cited several state-mandated costs as large contributors to the anticipated 2013 spending. He wrote in his November 7 letter to the board:

"For 2013, the Village is budgeting over 4.5 million dollars for total health costs for General Budget employees. This represents an increase of approximately $380,000, or 9% over 2012. While skyrocketing health care costs remain a major drag on available resources, the Village as a self insured corporation, has generally fared better than other municipalities. In addition, in 2012 the Village for the first time required all employees to contribute to health insurance costs, resulting in a savings of $112,574, which is projected to be $154,857 in 2013."

The tentative budget proposed to the board by Leins called for the elimination of 2.5 village positions—a move he said would bring the total number to 16.5 since 2009.

Board members echoed Leins' sentiments on Tuesday and also heavily criticized the tax cap legislation enacted by New York State last year, which caps the maximum allowable tax levy local municipalities and school districts can enact.

All five members of the board voted in favor of a local law that will allow "flexibility to override tax levy limitations in general municipal law Section 3-c for fiscal year 2013."

"I am going to be voting for this [law] as long as the tax cap is in place," asserted Trustee John Codman III. "It's a good law and it will help our village."

Trustee Robert Daraio added he feels the tax cap is "irresponsible" and "disingenuous."

Said Mayor William Hanauer of the budget, "It's a very been a long...and tedious process, but I think a successful one."

*This figure has been updated to reflect the adopted budget projection, rather than the initially listed tentative budget projection.

Sarah Studley December 06, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Hi Ms. Hoffman—the average tax bill for residents in 2013 is estimated to $3,426.72 in 2013, not $3.426.72 more. This is a 3.19 percent increase, as the next sentence states). I apologize if the language is unclear.
Rods December 06, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Ossining Village Approves Budget, 4.12% Tax Rate Hike is headline in another paper. so whats the increase. 3.19% or 4.12? http://ossining.dailyvoice.com/politics/ossining-village-approves-budget-412-tax-rate-hike
Sarah Studley December 06, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Hi Rods, as the first sentence of this article states, the tax rate increase is 4.12 percent. However, the village projects the average tax bill for residential homeowners will go up 3.19 percent in 2013.
Elizabeth Cornwell Hoffman December 06, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Based on that information, the average tax in Ossining now must be $3320.79 - as that number increased by 3.19% would go up to $3,426.72. This would mean that the increased cost to the average taxpayer this year would be $105.93. Is that correct?
Sarah Studley December 06, 2012 at 05:08 PM
According to the village, the average residential tax bill in the adopted 2012 budget was projected to be $3,294.70. Please note the projected 2013 figure has been updated to $3,399.85—which represents the adopted budget number (versus the tentative budget). Sorry for the confusion!


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