Written by Rick Karas Thursday, 11 April 2013 00:00
For the second straight year, the Williston Park Village Board voted to override the 2 percent tax cap. While the village did not exceed the cap last year, Mayor Paul Ehrbar said on Wednesday, April 3 that the same may not be possible this year.
The tax cap limits the increase in property taxes each year for school districts and local governments to 2 percent. Local municipalities have the ability to override it, however.
Last year, the board voted 4-1 to override the cap. This year, the vote was unanimous.
Despite last year’s override, the village stayed under the 2 percent increase, a move Williston Park is unsure to be able to repeat for the coming budget. Citing rising pension costs and other mandated programs Albany has put into place, Ehrbar says staying under may not be an option this time around.
Also, the override allows a bit of flexibility to guard against math errors, which could mean severe financial penalties down the road.
“None of us want to see an increase, we would love to be able to say this year we could even do a minus,” Ehrbar said. “However, we have to be fiscally responsible.”
The mayor said a final budget has not been decided on yet, and the board hopes to bring the final numbers to a public hearing on April 22 at 8 p.m. in Village Hall.
The trustees stressed that any levy increase is vital to maintain the village’s infrastructure. About $5 million is needed if the village hopes to complete all the road construction it has planned.
“[Budgets] have been cut, cut, do more with less, and what ends up happening if you have serious infrastructure issues, and we don’t want to see that happen in Williston Park,” Trustee Teresa Thomann said.