Nearly one week after adopting its 2013 budget, the Orangetown Council announced Monday that it is actually under the state-mandated two percent tax cap.
Though the official operating budget for Orangetown will increase by 4.66 percent, the tax levy increase as measured by the state is an average of 1.66% for Orangetown residents.
"It's complicated," said Orangetown Director of Finance Jeff Bencik. "It will be different based on where (in Orangetown) you live and what services you get."
The night the budget passed, the tax increase over 2012 was listed as approximately 4.9%.
Upon closer review of those numbers, said the number, which represents the operational budget for the town, came to 4.66 percent. That number does not account for exceptions mandated by the state in how the cap is calculated.
Orangetown Councilmen Tom Diviny, Denis Troy, Paul Valentine and Tom Morr released a statement regarding the budget Monday. Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said that the statement misrepresented the budget process.
"I’m thrilled we’re under the two percent cap," Stewart said. "It’s preposterous for four members of the town council to characterize our final budget as anything other than a collaborative project, which I worked on from the beginning to the very end. I hired the finance director who brought it to the finish line. I supervised the finance department. I did an analysis of al of the cost-cutting ideas. I eliminated ones that made no sense and were hurtful to the town, like announcing we are closing the sewer department.
"To tell the story as if I had no part in it is clearly a politically motivated, underhanded and vicious attack."
The following is the statement from Diviny, Troy, Valentine and Morr:
It is with great pride and a sense of acccomplishment that we are able to announce that the Orangetown Town Budget will be under the 2% state mandated tax cap for the budget year 2013.
Please remember that when the 2013 Budget was first discussed, the Supervisor's office spoke of a possible 15% tax increase. Please also remember that the Supervisor's initla budget was submitted with a 9.2% tax increase.
Through hard work and the desire to meet our mandate, keeping taxes low, we tightened the belt on spending and cut capital expenditures and were able to come in below the State mandated 2% tax cap. This was accomplished in spite of the county charge backs for services, the Pfizer tax settlement and Clarkstown land fill settlement.
We ask you to keep in mind that although the town budget is under the state mandated 2% tax cap, it does not necessarily mean that your tax rate increase will be less than 2%. It could be lower or higher depending on where you live in the town.
We realize that the budget is not perfect and services have been impacted. The town will need to do more with less.
To get where we are today, sacrifices were made and we will continue to make such sacrifides to keep Orangetown affordable.
The budget process is a team effort. We did not work alone and we wish to acknowledge the department heads and town employees who worked hard to meet the goal of keeping the budget below the tax cap.
Times are tough and we will do what is needed to help the residents of the Town of Orangetown.
Hoping for a better year in 2013.
Very truly yours:
Orangetown Town Board Members
Thomas F. Diviny
Editor's Note: This post was upated with comments from Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart. Check back with Patch for more on the 2013 budget.