The Town of New Windsor is facing a seven percent, or $142.23, increase with the tentative 2021 budget.
Even before COVID-19, the New Windsor Town Board recognized that this would not be a normal budget year for the town.
Their revenue stream has recently been cut due to the loss of sales tax. New Windsor has relied on “some very healthy” sales tax from Woodbury Common. The Town had planned on this sales tax due to the fact that the budget was established before the coronavirus changed things.
“We are struggling to keep the taxes down as much as we possibly can,” said New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers.
Because of the tight situation, the Town has reached out to unions who represent members of the town and is asking them for concessions.
“We are waiting to hear back from them,” said Meyers. “That will definitely have an impact on the budget.”
The budget as it is has been cut as much as it could be, according to Meyers.
Two funds that every resident pays are the highway fund and the general fund, which is facing a 4.9 percent increase.
“If we don’t get the cooperation from the unions then it will be even more,” said Meyers regarding the budget increase.
The water rates remain the same. The sewer rates went up by a dollar a quarter, or four dollars a year. The third fund that every resident pays is the ambulance fund.
“Right now, it’s about $50 or $60 for the whole year for the average home,” said Meyers. “I’m recommending to the town board we move that up to $75. This is not the New Windsor Volunteer Ambulance Corps anymore. This is the New Windsor Emergency Services Unit. When they show up at your house or business, they have a paramedic or EMTs on board and they will be able to provide aid to you to give you a chance to survive.”
He explained that without the volunteers, they’d be in worse shape but he does want to provide better pay to the medical professionals.
“We should kick them up a little bit to make sure we keep providing that service,” said Meyers.
At the end of the day, most residents want to simply know how much they are paying for their taxes.
To that, Meyers said that 70 percent of your tax bill goes to the local school district. Fifteen percent goes to the County.
“We are dealing with 15 percent of your tax bill,” said Meyers. “It’s something a lot of people don’t quite understand.”
The proposed levy of $17,202,413 for the 2021 tentative budget has an increase of $1.26 million or 7.89 percent over the 2020 budget. This exceeds the New York State tax cap by $573,875.
However, during the October 7th Town Board meeting there was a public hearing about a proposed local law to override the tax levy limit established. There was no discussion regarding the proposal and there was a motion to adopt the local law.
At this point in time, the Town Board has a month to look at it. On November 4 at 7 p.m. there will be a public hearing regarding the preliminary budget.
The budget has been posted online for residents to read through it and make any comments that they wish.
“This doesn’t look like a great year,” said Meyers. “Hopefully 2021 will be better.”