MAMARONECK N.Y. – The Mamaroneck Town Board on Wednesday unanimously passed a 2013 budget that raises the tax rate by 3.9 percent.
As a result of the rate increase, homeowners in the unincorporated area of the Town will owe an average of $235 more in property taxes next year, according to Town Administrator Steve Altieri.
The tax levy will increase by 4.7 percent to cover a 3.2 percent increase in expenses and bolster the Town’s surplus.
The board voted to override the state mandated 2 percent tax increase cap on Dec. 5. The override is allowed under state law.
Despite the override, the rate and levy increases are less than 4.2 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, that were proposed in the preliminary budget.
During the discussion before the vote, Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson spoke in support of the increase.
According to Seligson, had the board stayed under the tax cap, only $536,000 more in revenue would have been raised in 2013 than in 2012, and 87 percent of that would have been set to fund employee pensions.
With such a small increase, maintaining day-to-day services would be difficult without “dramatic change,” Seligson said. This would include cuts to leaf collections, four administrative positions and garbage collections, which would result in a drop to one a week collections or the adoption of a pay-as-you go system.
She also noted that only 23 percent of each individual tax bill in the unincorporated area goes to the town, with the remainder going to the school district and Westchester County government and the school district.
Over the past few years since the 2008 financial crisis, successive town budgets have cushioned the tax increase by using surplus money, a strategy that Seligson maintains is now unsustainable for the town’s long-term financial sustainability.
Altieri and Town Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner echoed Seligson’s statements. According to Altieri, borrowing to pay for current costs, as opposed to long-term projects, is “not a good option for the town,” while Wittner claimed that the 2 percent cap was an “arbitrary number.”
The budget will be posted to the town website Thursday morning.