Rotterdam braces for lean times

He cautioned against depending on town savings too much because that can put future programs at risk. He also stated that town spending will be watched more closely than ever this year. No new hires will be made, and the town is going to look into consolidating services with other municipalities.

Councilman John Silva discussed the possibility of merging certain services from Rotterdam's two school districts to keep costs down.

"I would love to have the town discuss the merging of our two school districts. We have a number of duplicative services," said Silva. "We may not end up being 100 percent successful, but we can discuss the consolidation of some services to make things more [cost] efficient."

He also said he would have preferred no tax increase this year, however, he said, looking into consolidating certain services might be an option for saving money down the line.

Tommasone said the town did their best to keep the 2009 budget modest.

"We're holding the line on all spending for 2009 in particular. In other words, any equipment purchases that need to be made will go before the board at a Town Board meeting before the town departments can make the expenditure. Hopefully, this will help us keep our costs down," said Tommasone.

Tommasone said that it's important not to overestimate the revenue side of the budget to keep taxes superficially low because it could give taxpayers a false impression.

"The 2010 budget will be even tougher than the 2009 budget," said Tommasone. "We will be very conservative in everything that we do on behalf of all the people in the town."

Overall, the town is making an attempt to be frugal in the coming year in preparation for hard times to come.

"I am hopeful that the budget fares out and that our county turns around quickly, but we can't solely rely on that. We have to watch where it is that we spend our hard-earned tax dollars," said Tommasone. ""

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