Town of Ossining residents are most likely looking at tax rate increases next year that are within the maximum allowable tax levy increase, according to preliminary documents.
"Every Town department is working much harder with less people and resources. We have been tweaking and adjusting the 2012 budget since January to ensure that we can achieve its goals—while there have been challenges, there have also been several major successes," Town Supervisor Susanne Donnelly noted in her budget memo to the community.
According to tentative figures, the overal town general budget will decrease by 2.69 percent in 2013, from $5,292,022 to $5,149,868.
The budgeted expenditures for the town unincorporated will decrease 0.61 percent from $3,672,145 to $3,649,811.
The town's highway fund is also projected to go down, from $2,207,249 to $2,203,398—a 0.17 percent decrease.
Despite the spending cuts, Donnelly said assessed values in the town have negatively impacted projected tax rates for the coming year.
"Like every municipality in Westchester County, we have seen a town-wide -1.29% decrease of Taxable Assessed Values Town-wide, and -1.50% in the Unincorporated area of the Town, as a result of tax certiorari and small claims (household) assessment reductions," she said. "These alone, without one dime of additional spending, have an unfavorable impact on the tax rate."
Town estimates show the average town general resident will see an $11.50 increase in his or her annual tax bill next year compared to 2012, while residents in the unincorporated portion of the town will see a number $43.60 higher, on average.
Briarcliff Manor residents an expect an average tax of $3,345.63 and Ossining village residents are likely looking at an average tax bill of $3,265.22 in 2013. Unincorporated town residents' average tax bill is estimated to be $2,098.12 next year.
In a document showcasing the "highlights" of the tentative budget, town officials noted a 13.97 increase in the town's contributions to the New York State Employees' Retirement System and an 8 percent increase in its contributions to employees' insurance.
Donnelly noted in her message that Dale Cemetery "became self sustaining in terms of their expenses" this past year and is expected to remain so in the coming years.
"The years ahead promise to be very challenging times for municipal governments as we face many of the same issues that our residents are experiencing from the economic downturn," Donnelly noted. "In Westchester County, towns are responsible for collecting school and county taxes, and making the school districts and County 'whole.'"
Exploring shared services remains a priority, Donnelly said, as does continuing to evaluate the town's internal structure.
"As true believers that reform and responsibility start at the top, we have been working with two people, as opposed to the prior three, in the Supervisor’s Office and will continue that practice in 2013," she said. "This administration is committed to hiring only when necessary in order to ensure we are making the most of our resources."
There will be a public hearing on the tentative budget tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the police/court facility at 88 Spring St. in Ossining. The full tentative budget can be viewed online here.