Harrietstown Councilman Bob Bevilacqua responds to concerns about property tax increases in the Town ofHarrietstown… Bevilacqua is a candidate for the Supervisor position in the Town ofHarrietstownand says he shares the concern about property tax increases. In a recent statement, Bevilacqua says the state mandated 2% tax cap is one important element in managing municipal spending, but, he says, there are additional measures that must continue, and be planned for, to keep Harrietstown fiscally sound and responsible to the residents.
Bevilacqua says “borrowing is managed in the Town, and controlled… so a huge mountain of debt is not built up. The Town debt is $157,800. And that will be paid down in just 3 more years” - By contrast, the candidate says… “The Village debt is approximately $18 Million. It will take many, many years for that debt to be paid down, creating a continuing burden for the taxpayer.” And he clarifies by saying “The largest portion of that debt (66%) does not show when calculating the village tax rate, since water and sewer use is a “fee”, not a tax.”
Bob points out that in any municipal budget there are components that are contractual items which are not negotiable downward; such as contractual wages and benefits. Other areas of expense line items are subject to scrutiny and innovative approaches for reduction. At a recent Board Meeting, the board spoke out as a group about what they refer to as a misperception that a careful planning process can be thought of as going too slow, as opposed to what the board considers to be an effective tool to bring the taxpayers the best possible result.
Bevilacqua says “Promising a tax cut, or promising to stay below the tax cap, is not the same as actually achieving it.” And he says “If we are able to meet the 2% tax cap mandate, and still provide the required services while honoring our obligations, it will happen because the work began last year by the whole Town Board. It will result because we continue to work together for the residents of Harrietstown.”