CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A preliminary $35.9 million budget for the Town of New Castle would raise residents’ tax bills by an average of $74 per household but again manages to comply with the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.
The 2013 tax levy, meaning how much the town raises from property taxes, is proposed to increase from $19,340,705 to $19,752,495. The 2.13 percent increase complies with the cap because of a tax base growth factor and exclusion of higher pension costs, said Town Administrator Penny Paderewski.
“In this budget, the average assessed home in New Castle is $172,309,” Paderewski said. “And that means, for 2013, if this budget is adopted, without any special districts, you’ll be paying $2,354.65. That’s it in a nutshell.”
General and highway funds will increase by 3.25 percent and make up 64 percent of the town’s taxes. The rest of the budget consists of special districts, such as water and refuse, which are proposed to see no increase from 2012.
Total appropriations for the town will rise 2.28 percent, which is more than the tax levy increase. The town will be able to spend more money because of an expected increase in revenue it will earn from higher fees and permits . Paderewski said the town avoided using too much fund balance in the 2013 budget.
“We’re trying to rebuild up our balance,” she said. “It’s been declining for many years, and I’ve gotten the board’s support for it.”
Paderewski said the 2.28 percent appropriations increase mostly stems from rising costs for pensions, health insurance and salaries of town employees.
Paderewski wanted to remind residents upset with taxes that the town tax burden is just 15 percent of the total property tax bill. Westchester County taxes are 13 percent, and the Chappaqua Central School District makes up the lion’s share at 72 percent.
Capital projects budgeted for 2013 include ongoing downtown Chappaqua and Millwood hamlet improvements, renovation work at the train station and stone replacement at the Town Hall entrance.
The proposed budget avoids layoffs of town employees, and the only hire would be an additional officer in the Police Department. Paderewski said a new officer is needed because two officers are out on injury leave.
The proposed budget raised no objections from Town Board members and will likely be adopted at the board's Dec. 11 meeting.