It’s Fall and the Rhinebeck Town Board is hard at work on the annual budget for 2016. As with last year, the Budget is under the Tax Cap. We’ll open our public hearing on November 5th, so I want to make the community aware of the issues we’re facing, and invite you to participate in the process.
The Tax Cap – This year, the State-imposed property tax cap is .73%, which will allow us to increase the 2016 Town budget by less than $30,000. The tax cap keeps government mindful of the tax burden on residents, and encourages savings through consolidation of services – something we do as a matter of course. At the same time, however, the tax cap dictates that we come to terms with a budget that has already been cut to the essentials.
Non-negotiable Costs – In 2016, our non-negotiable costs will increase by $80,000, including such items as employee health, general liability and worker’s compensation insurance, mandated benefits, fire protection and state-contracted road salt.
Loss of Sales Tax Revenue – The County changed its long-standing policy on sharing tax revenue with the towns, and as a result, Rhinebeck has taken a cut in its share and lost over $40,000 in County contributions in each of the past two years. The same will hold true in 2016.
Clearly, grappling with the town’s financial realities is challenging for all of us. Delivering the quality of services that our residents expect and deserve, and maintaining our infrastructure while remaining under the Tax Cap, means that we have to make tough choices during the budget process.
Our town is fortunate to have a healthy reserve fund that we can use to help offset costs – but that won’t last forever. We need to work toward a solution that will allow us to pay our current expenses out of current revenues, or this reserve will be depleted.
What can you do?
Go to our new and improved Town Website: www.rhinebeck-ny.gov and look at the “2016 Tentative Budget”.
Come to a budget workshop – Tuesday 10/27 at 11:00am and Thursday 10/29 at 6:00pm.
Attend our Public Hearing on November 5th at 6:00pm.
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I welcome your comments and questions. Your voice matters!
Elizabeth Spinzia, Town Supervisor