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  • Mamaroneck Observer

Budget Update

By Kathy Savolt -


CORRECTION: See the statement below.

The Village budget season kicked off in earnest Monday night with the opening of the Public Hearing at the regular Board of Trustees meeting. Several residents came with questions for the Board and Village Manager. This budget is unlike past budgets presented to the Board and the public. The Village Manager is shaking things up with new revenue streams, increased fees for some services such as building permits, and optimistic assumptions about sales tax. Everyone wants lower taxes, but a few were worried that the proposed changes in revenue might be overly optimistic.


Background

As previously reported, the tentative 2023-24 budget totals $44,754,271 in spending to be funded as follows:


Revenues Other Than Real Estate Taxes $16,314,428

Appropriate Fund Balance (Savings) $600,000

Tax Levy (Property Taxes) $27,839,843


The tentative tax levy increase is 1.16%, under the State-mandated cap on our increase (2.5%).


Highlights

· The real estate tax levy is 62% of the revenue needed to balance the budget. This is the lowest it has been in recent memory.


· Revenue from all sources other than property taxes is 36% of the budget and a $2.8 million, or 21% increase over last year’s budget.


· The largest revenue increase is the recent 90% increase in the sewer rate (on your water bill), estimated to be just over $850,000. The second largest increase is in sales tax revenue with a $800,000, or 18% projected increase.


· Expenses are projected to increase a total of 7.6%, with salaries (+7.6%) and benefits (+14.3%) making up over 71% of all Village expenses.


CORRECTION: Salaries and benefits are up to 72% of the budget.


· The budget includes a $150,000 contingency fund.


· At the work session earlier that evening, the Board announced that two of the proposed new fees were off the table: the Flood Mitigation Fee ($175,000) and the Library Collection Fee ($150,000). Removing them opens up a $325,000 gap in the budget that will have to be filled.


· Recent actions by the Board, such as the Village Manager’s raise and property tax abatement for volunteer firefighters and EMTs, are not accounted for in the tentative budget as they occurred after it was prepared.


Public Concerns

During both the Comments to the Board portion of the Board meeting and the Budget Public Hearing, members of the public spoke about their concerns with inflation, the banking crisis, geopolitical risks and economic projections and their effect on Village finances. These concerns were addressed by Mr. Barberio who explained that when revenue was down during the pandemic, departments cut their spending and employees took unpaid furloughs implying that there would be measures taken if a downturn occurred.


When his revenue projections were characterized as too optimistic, Barberio cited this year’s increase in sales tax revenue ($179,000 over budget through February) and the overhaul in the Building Department fees to bring them more in line with other communities.


Schedule

By State law, the budget must be adopted by May 1st. A series of Work Sessions are scheduled, and open to the public and televised on LMC-TV. All sessions start at 5:30 pm and will be held in the courtroom at 169 Mt. Pleasant Avenue. The Board is scheduled to adopt the final budget at their April 24th meeting. The new fiscal year starts June 1st.


Work Sessions:

March 29 Revenues, Expenses and Court

April 3 Building, Planning and Engineering Depts

April 11 Public Works and Fire Depts

April 12 Police, Village Manager and Clerk-Treasurer Depts

April 13 Harbor Master, Parks and Recreation Depts

April 17 If necessary








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