Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

All inquiries should be addressed to the Larchmont Historical Society.

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Tentative Budget Would Raise TOM Taxes 2.9%

The tentative  budget for 2010, described at the October 20 meeting of the Mamaroneck Town Board, would raise taxes 2.9% for residents of the unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck. Before adopting a final budget,  the board will hold six “open to the public” budget hearings (see the calendar for details).  And, for the first time, the board will tape its all-day budget session on October  30 for later broadcast on LMC-TV.

Work Sessions Televised? No Decision At This Date

The decision to air the budget hearing came after some discussion in the work session that preceded the (televised) board meeting.  Councilman Ernie Odierna was strongly in favor of televising budget sessions for their informational value and as a possible preliminary to televising all work sessions.  Councilman David Fishman agreed televising was an opportunity to explain to the public what the board is doing and where taxpayers’ money is being used.

On the other hand, Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner objected to televising  either  budget or work sessions, because this could inhibit   discussion.

Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe was leery of a “slippery slope,” but she agreed that airing a budget session might be a good idea.

The budget session will air after the actual event. No decision was reached on public airing of other work sessions – either live or taped.

2010 Budget Preview

At the Town Board public meeting, Administrator Steve Altieri briefly reviewed the 2009 tentative budget. The overall appropriations would go up $35,392 for a total of $30,044,117. By comparison, last year’s increase was around $1 million. Non-tax revenues are projected to fall by more than $246,000. (For further details, see Tentative Budget.)

The bottom line is a tentative tax increase: for the average property assessed at $20,000, there would be a $152 increase from $5,151 to $5,303 (2.9%)  for residents of the unincorporated part of Mamaroneck Town. For residents in Larchmont Village, there would be a $67 increase from $285, to $352 (23%) increase. (Larchmont residents receive most of their services from the Village of Larchmont and pay a separate Village tax.)

The tax rate increase for Town residents would be one of the lowest in recent years. The 2009 budget was the smallest in recent history, only 2.4%.  Previous years were higher:  5.6% in 2003; 8.5% in 2004; 6.6% in 2005; 3.6% in 2006; 5.3% in 2007; and 4.9% in 2008.

Mr. Altieri said the Town wishes to continue providing a high level of service to residents in these difficult economic times but has little control over rising costs of pension contributions,  a new MTA tax,  and an increase in services for senior citizens and the Section 8 housing program. Further salary increases are anticipated because of expiring contracts with the unions representing Police Department, Town Center and Highway Department employees.

Yet the revenue from taxable assessments has declined by almost $2 million. On the positive side, Mr.  Altieri noted a reduction in overall debt expenses. He also cited comments made by auditors last spring on the need to guard the Town’s surplus to maintain its financial strength.

The final budget must be adopted by December 20.

Sharpening Facility Will Be Available At Hommocks Ice Rink

The Town Board approved a two-year contract (ending 5/11) that will permit the Mamaroneck Youth Hockey Association to install and operate a skate sharpening machine at the Hommocks ice rink – a convenience for local residents who now travel to Pelham or Harrison for this service. The YHA will pay $1000 in rent. Following suggestions by Councilwoman Nancy Seligson, there will also be a review of electrical costs associated with running the machine.

Data Sharing with Westchester County: May Help In Reval

The board agreed to renew its data -sharing agreement with Westchester  through October 2014. Mamaroneck will provide tax, zoning, water, infrastructure and sewer district maps. In return, the Town will receive digital items including oblique and street level topography valuable in property revaluation.

Revaluation is still on the radar, although the town has not yet issued requests for proposals (RFP) from reassessing firms. Mr. Altieri mentioned, during the work session, that funds from the assessor’s budget could be used to hire Thomas Frey to consult on the RFP. Mr. Frey prepared the 2008 revaluation report that recommended a town-wide reassessment of all properties, which was last conducted in 1968. (See: Town Board to Start Hearings on Property Revaluation.)

Water Issues & Possible Penalties for Code Violations

At its work session, the board considered a number of water problems including: control of stream flooding; preventing backup from a drainage pipe; flooding of a Thompson Street yard due to catch basins that are below street level along Cabot Road.

Later, Mr. Altieri announced progress on the Gardens Lake restoration project. The Town has obtained a wetlands permit and will open bids in December. Work would start in late winter and be completed by late spring. (Duck Pond Project Gets $1M from Westchester County.)

Special Rates for Seniors?

Ruth Campanelli, a Larchmont Gardens residents, asked if the Town would consider  senior citizen rates for items like parking or admission to high school plays. Supervisor O’Keeffe noted cities tend to provide more of these kinds of benefits, but the board would consider the request.

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8 comments to Tentative Budget Would Raise TOM Taxes 2.9%

  • Anon E Mous

    Slippery slope? To the 1970s? To sunshine? And concern that public observation will inhibit discussion; oh my, oh no.

    A slippery slope to the 1970s, when federal regulation provided for the government channels on Cable-TV systems?

    A Slippery slope to the 1970s, when in NY the Sunshine Law went into effect, giving the public the right to attend meetings of public bodies, listen to the debates and watch the decision making process in action?

    That Sunshine Law says ‘It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.’

    The last twenty-five years has brought the web browser and the internet into our homes. As constituents it is our right and our responsibility to observe our government; to make sure our representatives represent us and to make changes when change is appropriate.

    As we enter what many have said will be for the Town our most difficult of budget seasons, to be followed by a difficult year(s) operating under such budget(s), it is time for all on the Council to see the light and for the public to see the discussions of the Council and have an opportunity to interact with their representatives, before all the decisions are set in the stone of the past.


  • Anon E Mous

    While some in the Town Council and Town management may anticipate further increases in expenses due to expiring contracts as well as providing increases to management and non-union employees, residents should not expect them.

    While some in the Town Council and Town management may consider it does not have any control over future pension expenses, such is not the full story.

    While the economy and our neighbors suffer, as residents let’s expect that such increases will not occur. Let’s also expect practice changes that modify schedules, modify staffing and eliminate overtime except in real emergencies, as not only does the overtime cost us more now it costs us more in the future as it increases our unfunded pension liabilities.

    And when someone on the Town Council or Town management points out that the Town tax is less than one-quarter of residents’ real estate taxes and the big factor is the school district, well, the same changes must be expected there too. A new school district superintendent must be expected to understand and implement that.

    Some will say that what’s fair is fair and that is not fair. Others will say, what’s fair is fair, and this is more than fair. Now it is not a question of whether the residents’ glass appears half full or half empty, but that for more and more the glass is less that half full and overall it is quickly evaporating further.

    • Dancerina

      Anon E Mous,

      I must say, I always love reading your posts. You make people think for a change rather than just reacting with contempt. Additionally, you add humour to the mix. I would venture to say you studied a bit of Philosophy in your days. Perhaps you are in Academics today??
      That or you’re a lawyer ;-)

      My thanks for keeping us (the group) honest and on our toes. For nothing slips by you!

  • complicated

    “Further salary increases are anticipated because of expiring contracts with the unions representing Police Department, Town Center and Highway Department employees.” Aaah, here comes the leadership in difficult times. Why not state “future salary decreases anticipated because inflation is zero or negative, prospects for guaranteed pension contributions point at sharp increase, and there are hundreds of better qualified jobseekers ready to push-pencil or even more in place of the newly protected elites. I said it – can our leaders act on it ?

  • Anon E Mous

    Dancerina, Thank you !

    Margaret Mead said ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

    I am simply an individual. Fortunate that my math teachers helped me to learn the power of one, that my social science teachers helped me to learn the impact of both a few and of many; and that in the course of my education, most importantly, that I learned to ask questions and seek answers.

    If I’ve manage to entertain, and in the process cause others to think about making improvements in our community and our nation, than those who assisted in my education have been very successful.

    Hopefully, I honor them in that way. Hopefully, others will remember that success is often the result of failure and that change can start with each of us.

    My sincere thanks to you again for your most kind words and best wishes.


    ‘Wisdom begins in wonder.’ – Socrates

  • Steaming Stanley

    I love it!!! Margaret Mead was right. I am also of the mantra that says “20% of the people do 80% of the work” in this world. Be it, a few citizens, a few co-workers, a few wisdom seekers, a few neighbors. “Indeed it is the only that ever has…”

    Here’s to small groups with big ideas :-)

  • Eleanor

    Kudos to for allowing us a format to share concerns,ideas,and monitor our tax payer dollars and policies. We are watching, and can impact a change. Here’s to our small group of concerned watchers:-) I hope more will join us.

  • Anon E Mous

    ‘The budget has a modest increase that will keep all our services in place,’ Town Administrator Stephen Altieri said. ‘What our staff and the town board will work on in the next couple of weeks is to find out if this is acceptable or if we have to make cuts further.’

    UNACCEPTABLE! The Town as reported by LoHud above, has proposed a poor bandage, that will get its government through the uncontested elections today and serve only government by using its emergency reserve money while failing to deal with the longer term consequences of the economy.

    COUNT ME IN Eleanor, to the small but hopefully growing group that will watch our Town government and impact change.