Clarkstown Approves Tax Cap Override, 2013 Budget

Board voted unanimously to exceed two percent tax cap and adopted budget with 6.2 percent tax increase


The Clarkstown Town Board unanimously voted on Thursday night to override the state’s two percent state property tax cap and also to put into place the 2013 budget of  $137,301,805. The budget for the coming year increases taxes by 6.2 percent. The average dollar amount per homeowner for the increase is $199.30.

During two hours of public hearings, Clarkstown residents made suggestions for budget cuts, asked for line-by-line explanations and criticized the amount of the increase. 

Tom Nimick of New City went through parts of the budget questioning increases and what certain line items actually covered. He requested specifics about salaries in the highway department and for the public works administrator and about savings from the town garage consolidation. 

When he commented, “The costs for the attorney’s office are quite high,” Town Attorney Amy Mele responded, “The current situation is we run as lean as we can run.” 

Bardonia Resident Michael Hull wanted to know how the town justified a 6.2 percent tax increase when Social Security payments were only rising by 1.8 percent next year.  He suggested that the town ask the police department to give back some of its recent salary increases and also consider layoffs as a way to get the unions to accept lower wages.

Joe Ciardullo said the town should operate more like a business and learn to work with limited funds. 

“Government can just go to the taxpayers and say we want more money,” he said. “These proposed increases, I don’t see any end in sight.”

Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said over the past three years most of the department heads have been told to make five percent cuts in their budgets.  

Council member George Hoehmann acknowledged the 6.2 increase was significant and said the town is continuing to look at ways to save including private-public partnerships.

“It just seems we as citizens can no longer live here,” said Tom Leonard of Congers. “The salaries that we pay people to do common tasks that do not require degrees are very high.”

Gromack attributed much of the budget increase to Rockland County’s transfer of costs for the Board of Elections, mosquito control, Rockland Community College tuition chargebacks and police officers, whose salaries had been reimbursed by the county. He explained about four percent of the tax increase was due to the transfer of expenses by the county.

“Primarily we were able to get ourselves to the two percent tax cap if it weren’t for the costs that the county legislature and executive government has shifted to the towns,” said Gromack. “If these costs weren’t shifted to the back of our town residents we were in line to have a budget that was under the cap.” 

Gromack said state required pension and health care benefits accounted for the largest increases in the budget aside from the county’s transfers. 

Michael N. Hull November 11, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Lynn: Thanks for the invitation but no thanks. Check your facts - Orangetown is likely to come in at 6% or less as they are making an attempt to make cuts. Clarkstown is at 9% when you factor in the 1% surcharge that was placed on the school taxes and the $2 Million that it is taking out of the reserve fund. There will be no cuts. The Journal News reported that the school surcharge showed up as a 'cost' on the school bill but the money will be 'savings' for the Town that will allow the Town to lower the tax rate for the 2013 budget. Supervisor Gromack's fiscal analysis in his own words went like this: "The $1.5 million raised from the school tax fee would not be a burden on taxpayers because the town would end up lowering town taxes for the coming year. In other words, while the school taxes would increase, homeowners’ share of town taxes would decrease. A $1.5 million increase in revenue would allow the town to lower its tax rate by 2 percent. This is money that is coming from town residents and going back to town residents in tax relief.” Still scratching my head trying to understand this analysis, in an issue of Our Town Mr. Gromack further declared: "The surcharge does not affect the school districts' tax levy, their bottom line, their tax cap or the residents' tax rate. Its a charge to the residents ....." Gromack is so 'clever' that I don't understand a single word of what he says. http://nanuet.patch.com/d/blog_posts/nanuets-nightmares
Kevin Roy November 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Gromack received 11,205 votes while Sabatini received 6,453 votes last election. With 80k+ people in Clarkstown, I think there will be plenty of people tired of the lies and will vote for change. You could set-up a kiosk at the mall and handout fact sheets about Gromack's record and probably get enough votes. Also, O&R/ConEd are regulated utilities. The way you influence them is through the NYPSC. Gromack knows this and cited it in his statement. The problem is with the Mgmt not the employees on the ground. They were working 18-hr shifts the last two weeks. Mgmt was not prepared for this storm and couldn't manage the resources they were given by other utilities.
just read this...see in NYC cops get involved with real people! Larry DePrimo, NYPD Cop, Buys Homeless Man Boots . have to like what NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo did for a barefoot man in Manhattan one frigid night this month. In fact, more than 260,000 Facebook users have "liked" DePrimo's actions, a number that's growing every day. After a tourist from Arizona snapped a photo of DePrimo, of Holbrook, giving the man socks and boots to ward off the cold, the image became an instant hit on the NYPD's Facebook page. "I had two pairs of wool winter socks and combat boots, and I was cold," DePrimo, 25, said Wednesday, recalling the night of Nov. 14, when he encountered an unidentified, shoeless man on the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue near 44th Street. DePrimo offered to get him socks and shoes "I never had a pair of shoes," the man replied, according to DePrimo, who's assigned to the Sixth Precinct and has been on the force nearly three years The officer walked to a Skechers store on 42nd Street and shelled out $75 for insulated winter boots and thermal socks. He returned to the man, knelt down and put the footwear on him "He smiled from ear to ear," DePrimo said. "It was like you gave him a million dollars." The officer asked the man if he wanted a cup of coffee, but he graciously declined and went on his way. "I didn't think anything of it," DePrimo said of his generosity. But during dinner that night, he got a text message from a friend. The photo had gone viral.
and nyc cops dont make the outragous salaries that we in this county have been impacted with!!!!seems police in nyc will go out of their way to actually help others..and not demand raises like here
Sharon April 29, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Vote them all OUT!!! Why don't government workers have 401K plans, like the rest of america? Times, they are a changing, and if we don't adapt we'll die, or at least our town will.


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