Tentative Budget OK’d, public hearing set for Preliminary Budget

WASHINGTON — The Washington Town Board held a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1, focused on the budget. In attendance were town Supervisor Gary Ciferri, Councilmen Stephen Turletes, Robert Audia, Al De Bonis (who passed away on Monday, Oct. 19, see story, Page A1) and Michael Murphy as well as Town Clerk Mary Alex, Bookkeeper Lois Petrone and Highway Superintendent Joe Spagnola. The meeting was held on Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Village Trustee Tim Collopy and resident Howard Schuman participating.

Tentative Budget

Alex presented the 2021 Tentative Budget, with a line by line review. The most notable item is that the budget remains under the New York State mandated tax cap. The tentative tax rates are estimated at, for town residents living outside the village, $1,947 per $1,000 for 2021 versus 2020, when it was $1,908. In the village, the rate is 0.854% for 2021; it was calculated at 0.864% in 2020 per thousand. The fire department’s budget for 2020 was 0.684% per thousand, though there was no number submitted yet for 2021. The library’s budget has a tax rate for 2021 listed at 0.157%; for 2020 it was 0.16% per thousand. 

The total amount to be raised by taxes for the town is $2,997,729 in 2021, according to the Tentative Budget, and the total budget amount in that document equates to $4,210,532 for 2021.

There are budget reductions in the contractual expense lines for most departments as well as reductions in revenues as projected by the state, according to Alex. Other items noted include the rental of the Guertin Gymnasium at Village Hall, with the ability to rent it out to other organizations. 

There is also the addition of a part-time clerk position for the Highway Department. Spagnola requested that the Highway Department budget be reduced by $20,000, which the bookkeeper authorized.

A total of $2,500 was added to the Animal Control Office budget line to allow for the purchase of new equipment for the overnight sheltering of stray animals, when the Dutchess County Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DCSPCA) is unavailable to take such animals.

A motion made by Audia, seconded by Murphy, authorizing the town supervisor to execute an agreement that will ultimately mean a discount of more than $3,000 for the town of the purchase of a lawn mower needed for the Town Park.

Budget workshop meetings were scheduled, many of which occurred before this paper went to press. To view the budget document, go to www.washingtonny.org. 

And, at a later meeting in October, the board again discussed the budget briefly, this time setting its public hearing on the fiscal document. It made a motion to rescheduled the public hearing for the Preliminary 2021 Budget for Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall; the hearing will also be livestreamed on Zoom.

A second motion, rescheduled the Thursday, Nov. 12, regular Town Board meeting to Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m., at Town Hall and via Zoom.

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