TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – Nearly a dozen Tuckahoe residents discussed property tax complaints with members of the Village Board on Wednesday at an informal meeting at the Community Center.
Village officials hold these quarterly community meetings so residents can have an open dialogue with them outside of the specter of the lights and cameras that accompany more traditional board meetings.
Residents had the opportunity to discuss their concerns, ideas and complaints with Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond, Deputy Mayor Tom Giordano and Trustee Janette Hayes during the forum.
One resident’s idea of doing property reassessments similar to the one that took place in Bronxville and is currently happening in Scarsdale was dismissed by Ecklond as unrealistic due to finances.
“If it was county-wide, I think it could help us, but we can’t spend the money. We looked into it, and it would cost approximately $2 million, which is 20 percent of our budget,” he said. “We’d need at least a town-wide revaluation, not village-wide.”
The notion of consolidating both essential and non-essential services between Tuckahoe, Bronxville and Eastchester was also debated. Those in attendance questioned why the town needs three police departments to patrol the approximately 28,000 residents and why each municipality was paying so much for Department of Public Works services.
Ecklond, who has been on the board for nine years, said that this topic has been coming up for nine years. He added that there have been recent discussions about privatizing the sanitation department of the DPW.
“Everyone I talk to says not to change the DPW. At the end of the day, we don’t want to tax ourselves out of living here, but there are certain reasons why we live here,” he said. “We also recognize we don’t want to bankrupt the people who are living here because we want perfectly plowed streets and meticulously cared for sidewalks and parks.”
In January, the Board of Trustees established a Citizen Budget Advisory Committee, chaired by David Scalzo, that will aid the board as both an independent consulting entity and in increasing transparency to the community during the budget process.
“We recently established the committee, and the first thing they tackled is consolidation,” Ecklond said. “They’ve done an enormous amount of work and opened our eyes to some major consolidations in the village. They will offer us a broader view when it comes to the budget.”