Village of Larchmont’s tentative budget for 2010-2011, if implemented, would raise taxes 3.14%. That’s slightly higher than last year’s tentative figure of 2.44%, but still one of the lowest in recent years.
It’s not as low as Bronxville, where the Journal News reports that the tentative budget calls for no tax increase. Mamaroneck Village is close – with only a 0.35% increase. However, Tuckahoe is at 6.7%.
Budget Ups and Downs
In Larchmont, anticipated spending would go up around 3.3% or $497,416, for a total general fund appropriation of $15,517,096. Revenues are also projected to go up: estimates are for an increase of $109,681 or 3.4%.
The total tax levy would be $11,879,128. This translates to a tax rate of $299.75 per thousand of assessed value, up $9.12 from last year’s $290.63. An average property owner, assessed at $20,000, would pay $5,995 in taxes to the Village of Larchmont for 2010-2011. That’s an extra $182.40 over the previous bill.
Most departments would see their budgets stay relatively flat – up or down less than $10,000 when compared to last year.
There is a notable increase – from $1,100 to $26,000 – for the assessor, which Larchmont shares with the Town of Mamaroneck. This reflects the Town’s demand that Larchmont kick in extra funds to cover costs of maintaining a Larchmont Village property roll. Most of the information is identical to that appearing in the town-wide assessment roll, and the Town would like to eliminate the separate data set for Larchmont. This year, the Larchmont Village Board opted – grudgingly – to pay an extra $25,000 rather than drop its roll.
The biggest increase is for the municipality’s bonds: up $273,311 for a total of $710,831.
There is a comparable increase of $251,999 to a total of $3,053,894 for employee benefits, which includes higher costs for retirement and health insurance. Also in this category is a new MTA commuter tax of $23,779.
The police budget is up $67,405, for a total of $3,452,401. That reflects, among other things, that the department has filled positions that had been vacant.
The fire department, in contrast, would go down by $108,016, for a total of $1,705,296. Asked to clarify, Village Treasurer Denis Brucianni said the budget includes only 15 paid positions.
Currently, there are 15 firefighters plus a paid chief. The tentative budget does not include replacement of the chief.
The board has not made a public decision on whether it will appoint a new paid chief to replace Rich Heine, who is scheduled to retire in April. One option suggested by the incoming mayor, Josh Mandell, is shared leadership between a paid captain and a volunteer deputy chief. Since the captain is one of the 15 paid firefighters, the tentative budget would support this model.
There is also a $15,000 increase in the recreation budget, but that is offset by a $15,000 increase in revenues for tennis fees and permits. Last year there was no revenue in that line; the tennis courts were undergoing renovation.
There is a also a $24,586 decrease in the budget for refuse and garbage.
|Final (General Fund) Budget Appropriation||Surplus Allocated||Tax Rate per Thousand|
All Democrat Board Will Decide Budget
Although the budget was developed under Mayor Liz Feld, it will be voted on by the new mayor and board that begins formal operation on April 5 at the public re-organization meeting.
Mayor Feld, the board’s only Republican, appointed Mr. Mandell last year to fill a vacancy. Mr. Mandell was elected a few weeks along with Marlene Kolbert, a four-term incumbent, and Jaine Elkind Eney, a political newcomer. There were no other candidates.
The new board has until the end of the month to pass a final budget – and there are both perils and opportunities in the month to come.
Mr. Mandell warned that the Larchmont Village tax roll is not finalized until April 1. “Between now and then it’s entirely possible that certiorari settlements could be awarded that could adversely impact the expected property tax increase,” he said. “We just received two on Monday, one business day after the filing of our tentative budget. These are beyond the control of the budgeting process. ”
When one property owner receives an assessment reduction, that increases the share of the tax levy all other property owners must pay. This boosts the tax rate even if spending stays level.
On the other hand, the board could still find new ways to increase revenue or cut expenses.