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Mamaroneck Town Board Votes to Override Tax Cap

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- After hearing from residents at a public hearing Wednesday night, including four PTA moms who objected to cutting two of three crossing guards in the preliminary 2012 Town of Mamaroneck budget, the board voted to override the state-mandated tax cap to raise money to restore some of the proposed service cuts.

Gail Julie, co-president of the Murray Avenue PTA, asked the board to reconsider eliminating the crossing guards at Plymouth and Weaver streets and at the corner of Colonial and Murray avenues. "The crossing guards play a critical role in keeping these children safe," Julie said.  "While we understand that certain cuts will need to be made, we feel quite strongly that the safety of our children should not be compromised in meeting the budgetary challenge."

In preparation for residents rejecting the proposed service cuts, Town Attorney William Maker Jr. had drafted a resolution to override the controversial state-mandated tax levy cap. The override is allowed under the tax-cap law. The board passed the resolution by a 4-1 margin - such an override vote requires a 60 percent majority vote to pass and would allow the town to go over the cap and restore those services in the budget.

Under this law, the town overrode the limit on the amount of real property taxes that they can levy and allows them to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2012 that exceeds that limit by no more than 0.80 percent.

Prior to the board hearing public comments, Town Administrator Stephen Altieri presented the preliminary 2012 budget, which the board was able to bring in under the tax cap by cutting services. The question, Altieri said, remains if residents are willing to take a reduction in the level of services.  "As it appears, residents aren't ready for reduction in services," Altieri said.

After the three-and-a-half hour meeting, Altieri told The Daily Mamaroneck the board will now reconsider the service cuts, including the crossing guards.

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