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Tentative Pleasantville Budget Stays Within Cap

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- In a tentative budget unveiled to the board of trustees on Monday night, Town Administrator Patricia Dwyer said Pleasantville will be able to come in under the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.

Despite being able to comply in 2012-13, some trustees wondered about the sustainability of such a budget.

"It’s good news in many ways, and certainly we’re in a better position than many, but what needs to be understood is the noose gets tighter every year," said Mayor Peter Scherer. "It gets tighter in ways that ultimately, not too far down the road, possibly as soon as next year, mean ‘OK, what are you gonna chop out?’"

With all the low-hanging fruit picked, Scherer said any future compliance with the tax cap might come at a detriment to the village and could significantly impact some of its departments.

"Although there are always ways to do more with less and cut some fat out of the budget, there are no big opportunities left to save any significant spots of money in doing what we do now," Scherer said. "Clearly the 2 percent tax cap is unsustainable."

Scherer said the village has been looking into sharing police services with Mount Pleasant and Westchester County for the past 18 months as a way of possibly cutting costs. The discussions, however, may have reached a dead end for the time being.

"I think it’s fair to say we have not found significant savings opportunities with Mount Pleasant," Scherer said. "And discussions with the county have bogged down to the point that it remains unclear as to what, if any, future remains there for us."

In total, the village's tentative budget shows a slight appropriations increase to $13,286,379 from $13,271,017, and has a tax rate increase of 2.87 percent. According to Dwyer, the figures mean a $95 to $96 increase to the average assessed house in Pleasantville.

The tax levy for 2012-13 increased from $9,183,440 to $9,444,930.

"That does not exceed 2 percent of the prior year’s levy" Dwyer said. "The budget conforms in all respects at this point in time to the tax cap that’s in effect."

Dwyer also relayed a message from the village's treasurer and attorney, who both recommended an override of the tax cap for 2012-13. She said the recommendation accounts for the possibility of the village's revenue sources not being as high as anticipated.

The tentative budget, which is available online , will continue to be discussed by the board at future meetings before a final budget is adopted prior to the May 1 deadline.

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