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Pelham Board Adopts Budget with 3.77% Tax Increase

PELHAM, N.Y. – In adopting the 2012-13 budget Tuesday night, Mayor Ed Hotchkiss and the Pelham Board of Trustees had to override a New York State-mandated tax cap and set a tax levy increase of 3.77 percent. The $12,899,631 budget features a $10,038,058 tax levy. The 2011-12 budget had a tax levy of $9,672,996. The mayor said the pension plans were the “main problem” in not meeting the tax cap requirement.

“This was a very difficult budget for us,” said Hotchkiss. “Our main problem that we had with the budget is the pension plans. We’re required to put approximately $1.4 million into pensions on a $13 million budget, and that’s before we even pay a salary. The required contribution percentage increase was higher than last year.”

Hotchkiss was hopeful that the pension contributions would decrease in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

“We’re hoping someday, someday soon as they say, that these pension contributions go down because they’re unsustainable as they are now,” he said.

Village Administrator Robert Yamuder said the budget was “as lean as it could be” without cutting services.

“We didn’t want to reduce services,” he said. “That’s why we had to exceed the cap by a little bit, just to maintain the services. It was very tough on our department heads, but we’re trying to maintain services, and give residents the best bang for the buck without killing them with taxes.”

However, residents of Pelham do not support the tax cap levy override . Many took to The Daily Pelham Facebook page to voice their displeasure after the board authorized the law allowing the tax cap override during its April 10 meeting.

“Our taxes keep on going up,” Michelle Parella Boyle said on Facebook. “How much higher can they go up? This mayor and board of trustees is really the worst that we have ever had.”

Dave Garufi said it was “ridiculous” that the board would be overriding the tax cap and said it must “make more cuts.”

The fiscal year begins June 1, 2012, and ends May 31, 2013.

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