New Paltz Town Council members recently sent a letter to their colleagues on the Village Board, asking if they would reconsider a decision to take the village share of sales tax for what may be the first time ever, rather than funnel through the town budget to help pay for services used by all community residents. The tone and public nature of the response to that request signaled that the sales tax question won’t be reviewed at this time, and for that reason council members are moving ahead with a hearing on potentially exceeding the tax cap in next year’s budget.
Mayor Tim Rogers had responded to that letter of request with an email that was copied to not only the members of both boards, but also everyone on the village staff email list, as well as this reporter.
Councilmember Alex Baer is still wondering what prompted the timing of this decision, as it’s never been done before and there was no discussion between the boards formally or informally. For several years there were joint town-village meetings every other month, but in May of 2021 Town Board members asked to shift that to only scheduling a joint meeting when there was joint business to discuss. While there were at least two attempts to meet jointly after that point, neither body scheduled joint meetings when the new calendars were approved.
“I don’t know why now,” Bettez said. “They didn’t discuss it much at the meeting.” This year, the supervisor feels a tax increase may prove necessary in the town-wide A fund to make up for that revenue from the village. In Rogers’ response, the mayor laid out the position that it should be a wash.
“I just really wish we’d had an opportunity to discuss that in advance or, at a bare minimum had correspondence from the village that didn’t include the press,” lamented Dan Torres, the deputy supervisor.
Passing a law to allow for the possibility of exceeding the tax cap would have to be done by the end of the month in any case, and has become standard practice in municipalities as a backup, if nothing else.