Crossing Guard Cuts Reconsidered: The Town of Mamaroneck's 2012 Budget

The Town of Mamaroneck Board adopted the 2012-13 budget at Wednesday evening's board meeting.

In a decision based partially on public outcry at , the Town of Mamaroneck board has reinstated two of the three crossing guards at Weaver Street and Plymouth Road and Murray Avenue and Colonial Road that were cut from the preliminary budget in order to squeeze out additional savings.

The guards from Weaver Street and Harmon Drive and all afterschool programs, however, remained cut from the final budget, based on feedback provided by residents at the last meeting.

“People should know that their coming out at the last budget hearing has changed this budget, I’m pleased to say,” said Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner.

The 2012-13 budget, which was adopted unanimously by the board, will raise the tax levy by approximately $589,000, from $20.8 million in 2011 to $21.3 million, a little under three percent increase.  The fire district portion of the budget was also incorporated back into the total budget based on what the board had been told by the State Comptroller and Division of Taxation and Finance.

The board could have raised the 2011 levy by as much as $670,000, a 3.23 percent increase, but was able to stay under the allowable amount, partially due to two employees who took retirement incentives, saving $110,000.  Last week the town also approved a law that would have allowed them to exceed the allowable levy by no more than .8 percent. 

“So, the budget being considered by the board tonight is well within the tax cap and does not require any override measure either in the form of a local law or resolution,” said Town Administrator Steve Altieri.

Residents with an average assessed home at $20,000 in the Villages of Larchmont and Mamaroneck will only see a modest increase in their taxes from $453 to $459 annually. Town of Mamaroneck residents, however, will see a more significant hike—although less than the preliminary budget predicted—with a $266.40 annual increase ($351 was originally proposed) from a $328 increase the previous year, a little less than a 5 percent increase.

“As we go forward into the next year…the board will spend a significant amount of time reviewing the service delivery menu we have, determining what, if any, services can change,” said Altieri, referring to the potential constraints the two percent tax cap law could present to future budgets.

Board members, as they have done at previous meetings, pleaded with the community to make themselves heard on town issues.

“We have to get input on what services are important to you, the public.  Where should we cut or should we cut,” asked Wittner rhetorically.

Larchmont Mayor Josh Mandell and board members also bid Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe adieu after many years of service.  Councilwoman Nancy Seligson will be taking over as the new supervisor on Jan.1, 2012.  Councilman David Fishman will also step down with Abby Katz taking over in the new year.

Jonathan Sacks December 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM
Is this really the best that could have been done? By their own admission, this is going to be a long haul. There should have been some pain taken in this year to limit the pain in the future. We are just kicking the can down the road. If we want the Town to survive and not be forced into consolidation we need to identify the key services that are most important to local constituents and focus on those. Beyond that we have no choice but to look at cost saving measures that are sustainable. Coming in under the cap is not an achievement when $589k more is being spent on the same or reduced services.
LMP December 16, 2011 at 02:20 PM
JS, certainly it's not. At best it is the best that THEY could do and it points to the need to replace them & or the way THEY do it. Stephani pointed correctly to a change being "partially on public outcry", much of partially was based on a small partial of the residents wanting a function benefiting them but paid for by all, and even one councilperson questioned the wisdom of the function. User fees anyone? “People should know that their coming out at the last budget hearing has changed this budget, I’m pleased to say,” said Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner. But emulating our current Congress is not something that should please. Why has the Council not done a much better job earlier (guess they can point out how they succeeded in reducing the amount of the increase). Why has the Council put effort into seeking t information from the residents it represents continually, before the last (actually, the only) budget hearing. The 2% cap is almost meaningless except to some politicians as the Town tax increase for residents outside the Villages is over 4.5%. But it took the focus off the amount of the increase and other important issues they'd rather not deal with. 99% are seeing much emptier wallets. The road to failure is not an achievement, except to those left in our municipal governments who are able to keep collecting. Time Magazine said 2011 was the Year of the Protester throughout the world. Maybe soon it will get here, hopefully in TIME (pun intended).


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