Maddi Zachacz, Budget Director
phone (914) 762-6001
fax (914) 762-0833
16 Croton Avenue
Ossining, NY 10562
The Budget Office is located on the third floor of the Town offices. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
A Message to the Community Regarding the Supervisor’s
Tentative 2018 Budget
Dana Levenberg, Town Supervisor
October 27th, 2017
As I come to the end of my first term as Ossining Town Supervisor, I am pleased to submit the Town’s 7th tax-cap compliant annual budget for the 2018 year. Although the Town serves as the umbrella government for the Village of Ossining and the majority of the Village of Briarcliff Manor, we offer many direct services to our constituents of which we are incredibly proud. For 2018, the Town of Ossining must remain within a 1.84% tax cap, to be compliant with the State mandate (unless we choose to override it). The tax cap is specifically on the levy portion of taxes and does not mean that your property taxes will not go up more or less than 1.84% , but rather that the Town is only allowed to ask the community for 1.84% more than we did in 2017, and that applies across all of the various Town funds. As the Town saw very little completed construction in 2017, both the Town and Village of Ossining were given a “brick and mortar” growth factor of 0%. As the economy, nationally and locally, continues to improve and some projects already approved by our Planning Boards come online, our growth factor will likely increase for 2019.
As part of the legislation that created the tax cap, the most we can increase our operating budget by is 2% annually. Although, 1.84% gives us a little more wiggle room than we had with the 2017 tax cap allowance, it still does not mean this was an easy budget to craft. Many of our expenses grow much faster than 1.84% annually, including the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, the costs of electricity, fuel, and natural gas, and contractual obligations to our employees. There is, however, good news—as usual, our Town Department Heads have stepped up to the plate with reasonable budget requests for the coming year, as well as some innovative ways to help us save taxpayer dollars by shopping around for competitive vendor pricing, and offering suggestions on how to trim staffing costs through attrition and re-classification of our employees. The Town staff does an excellent job for our residents, and they (along with our two labor unions) understand that our landscape is constantly changing and therefore we must adapt to keep the Town in good financial health. As a result, we have managed to once again stay under the cap, while also carrying forward $38,000 to apply to our 2019 cap allowance.
You may recall that last year, when we were preparing the 2017 budget, we had just completed a Town-wide revaluation of all residential and commercial properties, which had several notable outcomes. First, all of the Town’s property values are now at 100%, or full market value, and we no longer need an equalization rate. This one change, alone, did not have much impact on individual property owners, except for that the assessments on their homes, and the subsequent tax rates, suddenly looked very different. The 2017 budget was our first year using full market values in our assessments, but the 2018 budget will be the second one using those figures, making it easier to show an “apples to apples” comparison.
However, another outcome of the revaluation was that many property owners saw their relative property value change: while some stayed the same, some increased or decreased quite dramatically, as a result of 40+ years without a revaluation. Over the past year, our Town Assessor and his staff, with the help of Tyler Technologies, has worked to keep the roll up to date, which they will continue to do for the next four years until our next full revaluation, which will mean a return to the physical inspections that Tyler Technologies conducted in 2014/15. Part of the model used to keep the roll up to date uses “neighborhoods” as a basis for increasing or decreasing values. As the local real estate market is very tight, several neighborhoods saw value increases on the 2017 roll, which will be used for 2018 taxes. While this may mean that a property owner will be looking at a higher tax bill in the coming year (even if none of the taxing entities raise their levies one cent), it also means that their property could sell for a higher amount in 2018 than last year.
We continue to give Ossining residents an incredible deal on the services we provide. All Ossining residents pay into the Town General budget, which provides Court, Assessment and Clerk services, our beautiful Town parks, our Senior Nutrition lunch and Call-A-Cab programs, School, Town and County tax collection, grants administration, and legislative government. For all of this and more, the average Town of Ossining taxpayer pays only $317 each year. However, we are constantly looking at ways to lessen the burden on our residents and commercial property owners while still offering exemplary services.
Your tax dollars have been working hard for you this past year. Here’s what we’ve been up to do improve services and hold down the tax burden in 2017, and what we have planned for 2018:
- We have embarked on a multi-phase plan to improve the conditions of, and the amenities in, our Town Parks. While these projects do require a modest investment upfront, we are certain that it will help the Town to see increased annual revenues in future years, besides the fact that it just makes good business sense to keep our assets in good working order. This year alone, we have restored two of our three pavilions, one of which has not been rentable in many years. We have also added three permitted picnic areas to Louis Engel Park for groups of twenty or more, which will capitalize on our appealing waterfront. We hope to finish the third pavilion by the end of 2017 before beginning the 2018 “Fields and Facilities” portion of our capital plan, which is expected to include new field lights at Gerlach Park, restored tennis courts at Ryder Park, and . We also plan to undergo more work at Cedar Lane Park funded by a grant from Senator David Carlucci to enhance the facilities around the pond, including a new dock, a manicured beach and a kayak launch.
- Dale Cemetery has continued to do incredibly well in 2017—as we have committed funds to enhancing the natural beauty of the Cemetery, as well as investing in equipment to maintain it properly, we have seen nearly unprecedented interest in plot sales. Even though Dale Cemetery is not a taxing entity, the Town General has, for many years, offset some of the operational costs of running the property, and that is expected to continue into 2018. However, when we close the books for 2017, we expect to have contributed significantly to the Cemetery’s fund balance for the year while taking less from the General Fund than anticipated. This past year, the Town Board authorized a borrow to do extensive paving and stonework throughout the Cemetery, as well as move forward with planning the renovation of the Superintendent’s Cottage. We also applied for grant funds to help fix up the Superintendents Cottage at Dale Cemetery which we are waiting to hear about. Either way, we look forward to continuing work on the latter in 2018.
- We are seeing some significant reductions in our energy costs, thanks to the implementation of LED streetlights throughout the Town. It took a while for our fixture list to be updated by Con Edison, but we received back credit for the installation period and are seeing our streetlight bills cut in half. We are also paying the Village of Ossining for far fewer repairs now that the vast majority of the fixtures have been replaced. We look forward to replacing even more fixtures around the Town in 2018, including in our Town Parks and under our Pavilions.
The Supervisor’s Tentative 2018 Budget is available in the Town Clerk’s office at 16 Croton Avenue, the Ossining Public Library, and online at www.townofossining.com. There will be a short presentation on the proposed budget at the November 8th, 2017 Town Board Work Session, which is scheduled to take place at 16 Croton Avenue beginning at 7:30PM.
The Ossining Town Board will also be discussing the Supervisor’s Tentative Budget with our department heads during the month of November on the following days and times:
- Monday, November 6th: 1PM- 5PM, 16 Croton Avenue, 3rd Floor Conference Room
- Friday, November 17th: 1PM- 6PM, 16 Croton Avenue, 3rd Floor Conference Room
pdf Town of Ossining - Fund Balance Policy (54 KB) (Passed by Town Board June 2, 2010)
folder Archive - Voucher Detail Reports - Approved vouchers by the Town Board.
The Town of Ossining (the “Town”) has an important responsibility to its citizens to carefully account for public funds, to manage municipal finances wisely and to plan the adequate funding of services desired by the public, including the provision and maintenance of public facilities.
An important indicator of the financial stability of the Town is its un-reserved fund balance that represents the un-assigned and unencumbered balance of the Town’s revenues held in the Town’s numerous funds.