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Letter to the Editor: Concerned Citizens Supporting the Town Board

A group of Bedford residents write in support of its town board's decision to override the tax cap.

 

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.” 

Sincerely,

 

Bill

Abranowicz

Rachel

Asher

Philip

Batson

Robert & Doni

Belau

Neal

Berkin

Paul

Bird

Andrew

Chintz

David

Cohen

Deirdre

Courtney-Batson

Marianne

Delaney

George & Carol

Delaney

Charles

DePasquale

Elizabeth P.

Evans

Mary

Frei

Mary

Gocke

Andrew

Kuhn

David

Menken

Fiona

Mitchell

Amy

Parsons

Elizabeth Bowler

Plunkett

Susan Horton

Polos

Andrea

Raisfeld

Gregory

Raue

Bea

Rhodes

Heidi

Shilstone

Martha

Skolnik

Stanley & Elisabeth

Starr

Julie

Stern

Mark & Elin

Sullivan

Susan

Walton

Betsy

Weir

Bruce

Yablon

 

(partial list)

 
Mary Hall October 05, 2011 at 09:24 PM
This is a letter was written by a Town Board member, who circulated the draft in an email explaining that the Board is "catching heat" for their vote to override the tax cap. He basically begged people to write and support them. They are desperate to find some cover for their unbelievably stupid (politically and fiscally) move. I know at least 15 people who categorically declined to sign this "petition", which means there are plenty more out there. I cannot wait until these yokels run for office again - it will be a particular pleasure to vote against each and every one of them. ALL town boards in this country are having a hard time making ends meet; it's called doing their job!!! If you don't like unfunded mandates, then work to defeat them, but in the meantime, cut the government down to fit the revenues - don't expand the revenues to fit the government! And their argument that they won't necessarily use the power to override is ridiculous - of course they will. And what about subsequent boards, who now will have that ability? They've got a blank check and it's drawn on the taxpayers' account. Vote 'em all out. Note who signed - devout liberals, school board members - the usual suspects.
vonhayek October 05, 2011 at 09:25 PM
The town board's override of the tax cap is outrageous, and this letter was ginned up by the town board itself looking to cover its ass. We are not in a business as usual environment. The school board (after many years) gets it, the county gets it, but apparently the town board does not. If you are as outraged as I, vote for Luke Vander Linden next month.
Mary Hall October 05, 2011 at 09:34 PM
No question but that Luke Vander Linden is the guy - kind of like putting Harry Potter up against the Death Eaters. Harry won; now we need Luke!
scott vallar October 05, 2011 at 09:37 PM
Enough with the tax increases. Come back to me for more money when the employees are paying 30% of their health care costs. It is always easier to cave to the special interests and tax the rest of us then to make the tough choices.
Ross Revira October 05, 2011 at 10:31 PM
After reading this letter the new water plant in Katonah is needed more than ever. Maybe they won't keep drinking the Kool-Aide.
Katonah Jane October 05, 2011 at 10:56 PM
The Town Board should be less obsessed about maintaining their "flexibility" and far more focused on what taxpayers really need: Certainty. We need to know that our taxes aren't going to keep rising through the roof, we need to know that we will be able to continue to live in Westchester and that we will be able to afford to pay our kids tuition. The "trust us, we know what we're doing, we know how best to spend your money" attitude is not comforting. Luke Vander Linden has my vote.
Katoner October 06, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I am sick and tired of tax-and-spend liberals like Bob Castelli... His quote in the article, which I've pasted here, is outrageous. Beford fiscally disclipined? Are you crazy? The tax hikes for 2010 and for 2011 were out of control (less than 2%). Who votes for liberals like Castelli, Roberts, and Cuomo? Give me Luke vander Linden. He has very specific ideas and proposals for Bedford, I would assume. Pasted from the article above.... "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.” "
Lola J October 07, 2011 at 05:21 AM
I think it's hilarious that Chris Burdick felt the need to beg for support AFTER the Town Board made its decision. Man up, Chris! If you and your colleagues want to ignore the will of so many of your constituents, you will have to live with the consequences. To paraphrase a well know statement - "It's the taxes, stupid."

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