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Scarsdale Budget Would Hike Taxes 4.8%, Exceed Tax Cap

The Scarsdale Board of Trustees has released its 2013-14 tentative budget.
The Scarsdale Board of Trustees has released its 2013-14 tentative budget. Photo Credit: File photo

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Village of Scarsdale has released its 2013-14 tentative budget , which makes up for little to no growth in sales and mortgage taxes by hiking property taxes 4.8 percent, exceeding the state-mandated tax cap.

Homeowners with an average assessed value of $23,750 would pay about $271.70 more in taxes in 2013-14. This number would have been nearly doubled, but the village used $1.223 million of general fund balance, reducing the tax rate from 8.36 percent to 4.8 percent.

The village had $6.02 million of fund balance after adopting last year’s budget and has a policy to maintain a fund balance of 10 percent to 15 percent of general fund expenditures.

The village also plans to use $100,000 of its library fund balance, which is projected to be $390,000, to help reduce the tax rate.

“This year our budget will exceed the tax cap because we believe the level of services we’re going to provide, particularly in the capital area, are the level of services the community wants,” said Bob Steves, two-term trustee who was elected mayor Tuesday . “We think that the main concern is that we match the services and the costs appropriately.”

Because the tentative budget exceeds the cap on the total amount of taxes collected from property taxes, it will require a supermajority of the village Board of Trustees to pass. If the budget does not pass, it could be voted on a second time. If it fails again, the village would be required to use a contingent budget, with zero increase in spending from 2012-13.

The 2013-14 tentative budget would increase spending 4.5 percent from $48,445,129 in 2012-13 to $50,639,599. Salaries, health care, pensions, debt service and other employee benefits represent about 74.5 percent of the total plan. The village would spend $4,827,665 on pension costs, which is 9.9 percent higher than last year, but 117.5 percent higher than four years ago, according to the budget summary. There would also be a $410,000 increase in salaries and a $398,520 increase in health insurance.

The village tax bill accounts for 17.5 percent of the total property taxes. Taxes from the county make up about 18.2 percent and the school district is 64.1 percent.

The Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing on the tentative budget at its April 9 meeting. The budget must be adopted by May 1.

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