New Paltz taxpayers face 8 percent hike

The New Paltz town budget is going to hit taxpayers with close to an eight percent increase, the result of a perfect storm of declining revenues, a shrinking fund balance to cushion tax hikes and skyrocketing fixed costs. The final figures show a total spending plan of $11.9 million, with $8.45 million being raised through property taxes. The overall budget is up about half a million dollars from last year, or 4.4%, but the tax levy will rise 7.87% because there’s less with which to offset it.

Supervisor Neil Bettez explained that even things that were good news when they occurred can create budget challenges in the future. Case in point: a new cell tower lease was negotiated last year, resulting in a large lump-sum payment which was socked away to spend on the next town hall. However, the old lease provided $25,000 annually, which now just isn’t there. The fund balance, which money left over from year to year that serves as a rainy-day fund, is about as small as the law will allow, meaning that the amount to be used to reduce the tax levy was $66,000 less than for 2016.

In addition, a number of expenses are on the rise. Several contracts with unionized employees were settled with those members receiving raises, which Bettez feels are just but still must be paid for. Health care continues to be a costly challenge, as well: the most recent bill included an increase of more than $30,000, and board members worked feverishly at the table identifying cuts to offset that nasty surprise.

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Council member Marty Irwin attempted to increase the budget twice, once to cover costs of creating a master plan, and once to cover the costs of repairing Moriello Pool entirely from town funds, as Mayor Tim Rogers has indicated he would prefer that method. Both motions failed.

There are 5 comments

  1. Don Quiote

    This is what you get when the town board doesn’t hire an independent auditor to find the missing $2 million from three administrations ago. Instead, they get elected officials as high as the state attorney general to do their bidding. Two million dollars is one-fifth of this budget; 20%.

  2. Michael Spitz

    The village mayor just announced $350,000 upgrade to the park outside the front door of his bed-and-breakfast. Of course he would want the Town to foot the bill for the pool. It’s been dug into shale, a fissure rock, that will never hold water, literally and economically. Ah, remember the days when the pool was down below and nothing but an inlet of water fed by the steam instead of the villages fire-hydrants? Nah.

      1. Mark Spitz

        A grant for $350,000 was in the newspaper to fix up the mayor’s park across the street from his business.

        The mayor was in the newspaper saying he rented out a part of his house in a bed-and-breakfast venture.

        Ergo, grant money is channeled to the most favored fire commissioner in town.
        How many income properties do planning board members own and who are the planning board members? Doesn’t say their names on the village planning board website?

        Keep up.

  3. John Litton

    Mr. Spitz,

    This is a notefrom John Litton, a member of the VoNP Planning board and an invitation to the next VoNP Planning Board on December 6. There you can personally meet all the members, we really are an amiable group. There is no attempt to hide our names or any other information and during the period devoted to public comments, you can ask us any question. I hope to see you there and meet you.

    John Litton

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