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Pelham Manor Adopts Budget, 4.04 Percent Tax Levy Hike

PELHAM MANOR, N.Y. – Mayor Jim O’Connor and the Pelham Manor Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the 2012-2013 tentative budget Monday night, which features a 4.04 percent tax levy increase and a $13,377,693 total spending plan.

Pelham Manor was not faced with the state mandated 2 percent tax cap because of growth in its commercial district – instead, the village had to deal with a 4.05 percent cap that it was able to come in under.

Still, the mayor said it was difficult to stay within the tax cap with both the pressure of the unfunded mandates and employee cost pressures.

“As we’ve said many times, an excess of 80 percent of our budget is employee costs,” said O’Connor. “We have contracts in place with police, fire, DPW, office workers that call for a greater than 2 percent increase in salary. You have health care costs that often increase exponentially greater than 2 percent. The unfunded state mandate piece of it is really the pension fund.”

The 2012-2013 budget will increase by 3.45 percent, spending an additional $436,161 compared to the 2011-2012 adopted budget that totals $12,931,532. The proposed Homestead exemption tax levy increase is at 2.33 percent – from $8,805,350 to $9,010,318 – while the non-Homestead tax levy is suggested to increase 11.55 percent from $2,000,897 to $2,232,090.

In order to stay under the tax cap, O’Connor and the board said they were forced to make tough decisions that were not taken lightly, including leaving two positions vacant in the police and public works departments.

“This year first of all we got the benefit of a growth factor because of our commercial development – so we’re above the 2 percent, which is absolutely appropriate because we’re adding to the tax rolls by creating that addition,” said O’Connor.

He added that due to the employee-related costs, it will be difficult in the future to sustain services.

“You can’t provide services without people who provide those services. So, that’s going to be the ongoing challenge,” O’Connor said.

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