By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter
Apr. 17, 2019: Business before the Bronxville Board of Trustees at its annual meeting on April 8 included the swearing in of three members following the annual election in March and adopting a local law to authorize an override of the state-mandated two percent tax levy cap for the 2019-2020 village budget.
Bronxville Justice Court Judge George Mayer administered the oath of office to Mayor Mary Marvin for her eighth term as mayor; Robert Underhill for his eighth term as trustee; and Randolph Mayer for his second full term as trustee.
Enacted in 2012, the New York State annual property tax levy increase is capped at the lesser of two percent and the rate of inflation. In continuing to review and revise the 2019-2020 budget, which must be adopted before May 1, village officials are seeking ways to reduce costs and keep the tax levy increase within the two percent allowable for the upcoming fiscal year.
The board unanimously adopted Local Law 2-2019 to authorize an override for 2019-2020.
The trustees have authorized a tax cap override every year since the state implemented it. “We try extremely hard to stay under the cap,” Mary Marvin stated. “We may not have to use it, but we must pass an override by state law to have flexibility.”
Jim Palmer, village administrator, noted that, while certain entities, such as schools, can apply exemptions to the cap and calculate a legal levy increase greater than two percent, municipalities do not have that option. He said that some communities, in an effort to comply with the cap, have removed items from their general budgets and created fee-based services. “We don’t do that,” he emphasized. “We do everything we possibly can to minimize the impact on the community with any type of increase.
Mayor Marvin described the tax levy cap as “frankly ludicrous” in the face of an aging infrastructure because it strips away the incentive to make needed repairs and upgrades. Trustee Underhill stated that the state mandate effectively removes the village’s ability to govern locally. He added that the trustees are very aware that changes in the federal tax laws and the loss of the state and local taxes deduction have placed an added burden on village residents. “At the same time, we can’t compromise the quality of life we have. It’s a fine balancing act.”
In an effort to reduce costs, Palmer and Marvin said, the village has entered agreements with both the Village of Tuckahoe and the Town of Eastchester to pool purchases of blacktop for paving and implementation of the Swift911 emergency alert system. The village also shares parking enforcement officers on a part-time basis with area communities, as well as Justice Court judges.
“Now, more than ever, we have to do more with municipal neighbors,” Marvin said, “and we have to do more with public-private partnership to keep the numbers down.”
The trustees adjourned the public hearing on the 2019-2020 budget until such time, prior to May 1, when they meet to adopt it. A copy of the proposed budget is available on the village website.
Pictured here (from top): Mary Marvin, Robert Underhill, and Randy Mayer being sworn in.
Photos by C. Bartold