March 8, 2019
Dear Mayor Swiderski and Honorable Board of Trustees:
I hereby submit for the Board of Trustees consideration, the 2019/20 Village Manager’s proposed general fund budget that totals $16,197,061. At this spending level, a tax rate of $6.13 is required, which when compared to the current year’s budget represents no tax rate change. This budget does require, however, the tax levy to increase by 4.1%. This levy is in compliance with the state law that establishes the maximum tax levy that may be established without the need to seek an override. The levy would appear as a percentage to exceed the maximum allowable levy, however, it is in compliance because of the unused tax levy capacity carried forward from the current year levy and the growth in property assessments. This budget uses the net assessed values established by the Town of Greenburgh in the amount of $1,881,521,954 which reflects growth of 4.0%.
The general fund budget (includes the Village contribution toward the cost of the library operations in the amount of $900,391) reflects an increase in expenditures in the amount of $592,300. The functional breakdown of the expenditure and revenues for the proposed FY20 budget is contained in a series of exhibits in the complete budget document. For a taxpayer with a home assessed at $668,173 (average assessment), this spending rate would require no annual property tax increase. All homeowners are advised to compare this example against the assessment of their property.
This budget offers a projection of what the Village can expect to receive from the State, County, and locally generated revenues. As a general statement, several revenue categories have stabilized or declined, and we will probably not experience increases like we had during the last two budget cycles. We believe sales tax revenues will grow to $1,280,000; building permits are projected to increase slightly from the current year and parking permits and meter revenues have leveled off as a result of increases to those fees in previous fiscal years. The mortgage tax is anticipated to decrease slightly due to the drop off in home sales. We are now experiencing an increase in interest earnings with the resulting revenues projected to reach $50,000.
The Village’s outside independent auditor has affirmed the unassigned fund balance as of May 31, 2018 at $1,755,136. This demonstrates steps that have been taken to increase the fund balance to guard against future unanticipated revenues. This budget does recommend that a budgetary transfer from the fund balance to the capital reserve fund occur in the amount of $200,000 to allow the continuation of the road resurfacing program. With this resulting action, the fund balance will be reduced to represent an amount equal to 10% of the operating budget. This is in compliance with the Board of Trustee’s policy governing the fund balance.
This budget reflects the continuing philosophy to analyze and project revenues on a conservative basis. A financially precarious situation can develop rapidly if revenues projected to occur fail to materialize during the course of the fiscal year. Such an event would cause a community to rely on their unallocated fund balance or as euphemistically referred to as a rainy-day fund. We been able to avoid that situation.
The exception to the rule is that the budget does include the continuation of the State per Capita Payment in the amount of $68,434. The Governor is proposing the elimination of that payment to selected municipalities. The terms of the payment are proposed to be changed to reflect a payment based upon need, not simply population. At the time of this writing, the State budget has not been adopted. Likewise, Westchester County is discussing increasing the sales tax formula. What this could mean, if approved, Hastings-on-Hudson could receive more than the estimated $1,300,000 share of sale tax collected. The budget does not include an estimate of what that number could amount to.
The budget reflects an increase in expenditures of $592,300. The budget provides for the continuation of the delivery of municipal services which Village taxpayers expect. Improved productivity, purchase of the necessary tools to accomplish the task, and enhanced delivery of services continues to be the commitment of Village municipal employees. This increase in the operating budget in the amount of 3.8% is due in large part because of expenditures which are out of the direct control of the Village. By that, I refer to the increase in the amount of $69,177 for the required contribution to the public safety, municipal and fire protection service pension/annuity plans, and the increased cost to provide healthcare insurance coverage in the amount of $134,383.
In terms of new programs, the budget offers funds to begin a program addressing the restoration of the health of the Hillside Woods. As a result of a recent study, this budget includes funds for removal of hazardous trees and an aggressive program removing evasive vines from the park. The other noteworthy addition to the budget is continuing to provide the Police Department firearm equipment to carry out their mission of ensuring public safety. The budget also includes the leasing of two administrative hybrid powered sedans for the detective division and administration.
The budget includes the purchase of financial record-keeping financial software in the amount of $60,000. The Village made this type of capital investment in its financial record-keeping 20 years ago, however, technology has advanced and the software we’ve used in the past has become dated and needs to be updated. The system will enhance our capability of maintaining equipment record-keeping and accounting services.
The Village total debt service which includes library and pool payments is in the amount of $1,445,519.
Traditionally, the Village has maintained a contingency account in the general budget. This year reflects salary adjustments and potential tax certiorari settlements. This budget contains a contingency amount of $140,000.
In closing, I wish to thank the department heads for their conscientious matter they went about in preparation of their operating budgets. The management team looks forward to presenting this budget during scheduled budget work sessions and the public hearing scheduled for April 2. We look forward to the examination by the Board of Trustees leading up to the adoption of the budget no later than April 30, 2019.
Very truly yours,
Francis A. Frobel
Village of Hastings-on-Hudson
7 Maple Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
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