Town of Webb receives 2012 tentative budget. Two percent tax cap requirement adds new wrinkle

The Town of Webb Board has received the town’s Tentative Budget for 2012 and met to discuss it on Thursday, October 13.

“In a nutshell, this budget will probably be pretty standard. At this juncture I would call it raw information on proposed expenditures for 2012,” said Town Supervisor Robert Moore.

However, unlike previous years, the Town of Webb is faced, as are municipalities, with the task of working with a State-mandated two-percent tax cap that was put into law this year.

A mandate, that Moore believes, will play a significant role in the preparation of the preliminary budget.

“People are not wrong in saying we need some kind of tax relief. But in the Town of Webb, we are consistently conscious of that. We don’t want to go higher than the rate of inflation if we can help it. We want to keep it reasonable,” Moore said.

As someone who has studied the new law and familiarized himself with it through training, Moore said the tax-cap is not without its weaknesses.

“I would like to think that going forward, there might be some adjustments with regard to special district applications and the like. I can see where the cap could have a detrimental effect on a municipality’s investment in its infrastructure. However, the law was passed, so we will abide by it,” Moore said.

Moore added that property tax relief is certainly needed in New York State. However, Moore said that his preference would have been the circuit-breaker proposal that had been discussed.

The circuit-breaker plan would have factored a property owner’s income into his property tax levy, effectively easing the burden on those with limited means and fixed incomes.

Currently, the tentative budget for 2012 calls for an increase over last year’s taxes by $509,169 and does not yet factor in the two percent tax cap.

It is more of a collection of information about the various needs of different departments, Moore said.

It is not until the implementation of the Preliminary Budget that the Town will begin to whittle down to a more concise and reasonable working plan, he said.

Despite the added challenges this year, it is Moore’s opinion that, the exercise of creating the preliminary budget will also require an important prioritization of projects.

“Different departments have submitted requests for equipment and so on. But let me just be blunt and say that not everyone is going to get what they want,” he said.

Significant revisions to the Tentative Budget will be necessary to meet the tax cap. And Moore is certain that the Board will be taking sharp pencils to the budget in order to prioritize what is necessary.

“The tax-cap is a game changer for town budgeting. You are going to have to be very meticulous and considerate of what you plan to do. There will be some projects that will take a back seat. Purchases that will be prioritized. Some things just won’t happen,” he said.

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