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Rotterdam divided over budget

Board members plan to lower budget before approval

As some people are tightening their own spending, Rotterdam is proposing a tax increase that might put some more pressure on resident's wallets.

Rotterdam Supervisor Francis Del Gallo's 2011 tentative budget totaling $21.2 million includes a residential property tax increase of 11.36 percent. Almost $1.6 million is being used from the town's fund balance to help cover the cost of state mandates and other costs.

Del Gallo said some of the budgetary pressures were increasing Retirement costs by 35 percent and health insurance costs are increasing by 15 percent. Revenue in the town is also declining from almost $7.1 million in 2010 to an estimated $6.9 million for 2011.

Businesses will also feel the burden as non-residential property taxes rise 14.7 percent. Del Gallo said the commercial people are getting beat up and he recognizes businesses are trying to make due with less.

Del Gallo did also blame part of the tax increase on the town's previous Republican board.

"They [the previous administration] haven't taxed anybody for three years," said Del Gallo. "If you don't raise taxes it is only common sense."

Councilman Gerard Parisi, lone Republican board member, disagreed the tax increase is due to the previous administration.

"This is a complete failure on part of the supervisor and deputy supervisor," said Parisi. "Based on what they campaigned upon was a big tax cut, obviously they didn't keep their promise."

Councilwoman Nicola DiLeva also felt the budget is unacceptable at this point, but she didn't want to blame the previous board.

"You don't look at the past, I can't blame anything on them [the previous board]," said DiLeva. "We are the present board and I want to find an alternative to this."

DiLeva requested for board members to finally meet with department heads to go over the budget and find ways to cut costs. She believes the board would be able to reduce the budget.

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