Your Preserve Airmont team has once again responsibly balanced the budget as we promised we’d do when we were elected. View it here. The good news is that for a third year in a row, there is no increase in taxes, however, that doesn’t mean balancing the budget wasn’t met with difficulty and tough decisions once again.
Starting with the good news, our Village valuation went up about 1 million dollars. That is a result of the Airmont Gardens PILOT program expiring and ensuring that only valid tax exemptions are given to properties that are legally in compliance. This means that we weren’t starting at a deficit and that the results of our hard work are paying off. Also, due to higher than expected revenues, our 2017 surplus was $53,000 more than we expected. We anticipate even higher revenues this year (despite the moratorium).
This year’s Village tax cap is actually 2%, the first time since 2013. The board and I wanted another 0% increase. We have a few one time expenditures this year that we need to address, one of them being the filing and updating of all the code changes brought about by the new Comprehensive Plan, another being new computers to run the new system we budgeted for last year. After reviewing the surplus from last year and the expected surplus from this year we thought it would be best to appropriate $81,750 to keep the taxes stable.
Some notes on the budget:
We again gave much deserved raises to the staff that works tirelessly to ensure the Village runs smoothly. Throughout our term we have held the staff accountable to their actions and the result is a competent, enthusiastic staff that works well together and for the residents. Such high quality service deserves competitive compensation.
We divided the attorney position into a Board attorney, a local law attorney to deal with zoning issues in court, and a vehicle and traffic attorney. We felt this would be more efficient way to deal with these issues where the Village gets the most value from our dollar.
We increased the Zoning Board and Planning Board members’ stipends.
Our cultural celebrations remained the same but the Board intends on having many smaller events (movie night, battle of the bands, etc.) in place of one big yearly event.
We had to budget for the 2019 election (where we hope you will vote for us again)
As always, our road repair budget has remained the same as our first budget. It is important to note that since 2015, we have paved over 14 road miles out of our 36 road mile Village. Proof that our road repaving program has been working.
The public hearing to pass this budget is scheduled for November 19th. I want to again thank the talented Village staff for their efforts and the Village Board for their hard work in getting things done quickly and efficiently.
-Mayor Phil Gigante