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Larchmont Mayor Looks Forward to 2012

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- While many towns and villages are cutting services and staff to get under the 2 percent tax cap, Larchmont is in a good position to avoid such measures going into the new year, said Joshua Mandell, mayor of the village.

Larchmont's Board of Trustees, which will begin the budget process in late January, renewed the Police and Fire Departments' labor agreements, each making significant concessions when it comes to raises and health care contributions.

"The concessions made by the employees have made it possible for us to virtually guarantee that we're going to be able to get under the tax cap for the next two years at least, without any significant service or staff reductions, and potentially none in the coming years," Mandell said.

Both the Larchmont Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and the Larchmont Professional Firefighters Association agreed to contracts that cap wage increases at 1.5 percent annually and removes the $3,500 cap on annual health care contributions for new employees. Health care contributions after retirement for new employees of each department will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent, representing the biggest savings to the village, Mandell said.

The PBA agreed to a three-year renewal , while the Professional Firefighters Association agreed to a five-year renewal .

"We intend to produce budgets that are tight," Mandell said. "Those contracts speak for roughly 80 percent of the budget for any given year. The fact we've negotiated contracts for employees for three and five years means we've spoken for 80 percent of the budget for the next three to five years."

Additionally, the Palmer Avenue streetscape project will begin, and end, in 2012. The project was originally planned to go from Chatsworth Avenue to Larchmont Avenue, but has been expanded to go as far as the movie theater, touching the entire business district along Palmer.

"We got an extension for the grant period and extra money from the state to allow us to expand the project area to all of our business district," Mandell said.

All of the regular events and activities in the village will continue in 2012, including the Ragamuffin Parade, Memorial Day ceremonies, and more. Mandell will be working with local businesses and the Larchmont Chamber of Commerce to schedule additional events in the coming weeks and months.

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