We support the . We believe the Town Board acted wisely and responsibly to allow itself the flexibility to exceed the 2 percent tax cap. The override mechanism is there as a safety valve, and it was exercised for good reasons, one being to avoid a default on Town bonds.
We all want something done about high taxes. We believe the Town Board understands this and has for some time. We support the Board for its decision to stand up for home rule instead of Albany telling us what to do. They have to make tough financial decisions for us, as our elected representatives. Albany gave no mandate relief. It regularly passes on crushing expenses to municipalities and schools and then tells them to keep their budget increases to the lower of 2% or inflation.
For those who may not know, the Board has no control over school, county or fire district taxes. The Town portion of your property tax bills amounts to 15 to 20 percent depending upon which school and fire district you live in.
Our Town Board has acted in a fiscally prudent manner. Over the last three years it has held the average annual tax increase to just 16/100ths of a percent over the Albany cap. In dollar terms for the average Bedford homeowner that’s $1.04. The total Town tax increase for that homeowner was $39.65.
The Board accomplished this by reducing head count, cutting spending, finding efficiencies and just generally being smart in the management of our tax dollars. It did so while providing a high level of service to all of us: a top notch police force that keeps us safe; a steady program of road re-paving and prompt snow removal; beautifully maintained parks and pools; superb local libraries and programs for our kids and senior citizens. All these contribute to the strong sense of community and pride we have in Bedford’s unique character.
This is what we elected the Town Board to do. The current Board has a proven history of managing the Town’s finances frugally and thoughtfully. Their goal is to meet the cap, providing they can do so in a responsible manner. We know that this requires flexibility. An arbitrary cap which ties the Board’s hands and keeps them from doing the job we elected them to do is just wrong.
We think the Town Board has managed our tax dollars well. One of the leading advocates of the tax cap, our own Assemblyman Bob Castelli agrees. After hearing the debate over the tax cap, he remarked that if all towns and the state government itself were as fiscally disciplined as Bedford, “we wouldn’t need a tax cap in this state.”
Please join us in supporting the Town Board. Send an e-mail to Supervisor Lee Roberts at Supervisor@bedfordny.info and just say, “We agree that the override vote was the right thing to do.”
Robert & Doni
George & Carol
Stanley & Elisabeth
Mark & Elin