Brian Pugh: What do taxes pay for?

Dear Neighbors:brian-pugh-group-cropped

As June draws to a close, the June 30 deadline for the payment of Village taxes approaches.  Few people enjoy paying taxes, which is why Croton’s Board of Trustees worked with the staff to keep the tax increase in the 2019 budget to 0.46% (for the median homeowner that’s an increase of approximately $26 for the year) and $343,062 below the property tax levy limit.

At the same time, I believe it’s important for the public to understand how their tax dollars are used.  That’s why at my recommendation, the Village Departments now issue quarterly reports that are posted to each Department’s page on www.crotononhudson-ny.gov.

Below is a brief sample of the work that the Village’s departments are doing on your behalf, from their most recent quarterly reports, which were issued last week:

From March 1 to May 31, the Department of Public Works cleared 14 inches of snow, 277 miles of roadway, 485 catch basins, 880 tons of refuse. In the same period, our Village engineer issued 41 new buildings permits. Our Police Department responded to 84 motor vehicle accidents, 169 fire and ambulance calls and responded to 1,176 calls overall, from January 1 to April 30.

Overseeing all of these operations is our Village Manager, Janine King–with the support of her confidential secretary, Bryan Healy.

Manager King, a Village resident since 1989, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Columbia and has worked for the Village for almost 30 years.  Mr. Healy, previously worked for the Town of Bedford, has been with us since 2018 and has proven to be a valuable addition to the team.

Every day, our Village benefits from their experience and expertise.

Over the last two budgets, the Board of Trustees and I have worked with the staff to keep tax levy growth to a total of less than 1%.  We have been able to reduce village indebtedness. We have continued to run budget surpluses. We have have maintained a robust Aa2 credit rating.  In their last statement credit analysis of the Village of Croton, Moody’s observed the Village’s “[s]trong and stable financial position supported by conservative fiscal policies.”

We have been able to grow our fiscal health in the face of economic headwinds: inflation that has been running at approximately 2% per year from 2016 to present, state aid that has remained flat since 2011 (in contrast to the billion dollar increase in state aid to local school districts in the 2019-20 state budget) and unfunded mandates from Albany (e.g. the Village, unlike school districts, must pay the MTA payroll tax–even though almost by definition the Village’s workforce does not really use the MTA).

Our Village Board of Trustees, with the guidance and support of our professional staff, is committed to controlling property taxes to keep the Village of Croton a community where middle class families can afford to live.  At the same time, we will continue to work to give our Village’s workforce the tools they need to keep delivering the level of services residents expect and preserve our community’s quality of life.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh, Mayor

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