TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – The Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved its 2012-2013 budget Monday night in a special meeting that drew no live audience except for two reporters.
The $11,069,212 budget was a tweaked version of the proposed budget put forth April 9 and represents a 3.93 percent rate increase and a 0.96 percent increase in the tax levy. The tax levy was capped at 2 percent by the state, but with allowable exceptions Tuckahoe could have raised the levy by as much as 3.13 percent.
"There was a lot of compromise among members of the board to get to where we are today," said Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond. The mayor said the job was made harder by factors beyond the board's control, including mandated increases in employee benefits and reduced tax collections because of lower property values.
"We came up with this budget by spreading the cuts over all departments to avoid eliminating any services the village residents have come to expect," Ecklond said.
The budget includes no pay increase for non-union employees or department heads, he said. "We realize the impact this can have on employee morale and we plan to re-evaluate the situation in December," he said. "We may also look at giving comp time credit in lieu of raises."
Ecklond said the village would not fill positions at the Department of Public Works and may leave some police positions vacant.
The Tuckahoe Public Library took a $42,000 hit, an 8.23 percent cut compared with the current year's $500,000 budget. "We restored some funding to the library" after announcing even deeper cuts April 9, Ecklond said. The board had originally planned to cut $47,000.
Resident will not have to pay $10 for a street parking sticker in 2012-2013. That fee was eliminated. "Residents already pay taxes," Ecklond said, "and they shouldn't have to pay to park, too."
Deputy Mayor Tom Giordano said the village will have to rely on department heads to do more with less, and said the effective budget cuts have on residents remains to be seen.
Trustee Stephen Quigley said he would vote to adopt the budget, but "I think it may shortchange the people of Tuckahoe.” He said residents expect to have police coverage around the clock, a village that is beautiful and exciting, and a library that is appropriately staffed and open enough hours to provide everyone with the opportunity to use it. "I'm not convinced this budget does this," he said.