Rotterdam braces for lean times

Rotterdam officials adopted the 2009 tax budget at the Wednesday, Nov. 10, Town Board meeting, with Supervisor Steve Tommasone noting that there are likely tough times ahead.

Unless the economy turns around briskly overnight, there will very likely be a town tax increase next year [2010], said Tommasone.

Under the 2009 budget, the homestead tax levy will increase 1.74 percent, and the non-homestead tax levy will decrease 2.32 percent.

"The majority of the residents of the town will see very little change in their whole tax bill " including the water and the sewer. If they happen to be one of 2,500 properties that are around the sewer line, most of those residents that are in Water District 5 and/or Sewer District 2, (they) will see about a $15 overall decrease in their total tax bill," said Tommasone.

While the relatively small numbers may seem like welcome news to town taxpayers, Tommasone said there will most likely be a tax increase for 2010 due to state and county budget cuts that will be made as a result of the national economic crisis.

During this year's budget discussions, board members, along with Pat Aragosa, the town's comptroller, tried to plan for the upcoming year's budget process and cuts the town would have to face and other costs the town can't control.

"I look at the town as a total operation," said Tommasone. "While we would like to keep the town tax to zero, it is next to impossible because you're always going to have some increase in costs that are outside your control. We can to some degree control staffing costs, but when it comes to fringe benefits and gasoline or energy products that we might just need for maintenance and improvements " it could be anything from a shovel to a door " you're talking about an increase in costs."

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