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Towns deal with tax cap

R'dam eyes 13 layoffs in budget; Nisky’ and Glenville propose cuts, no layoffs

— The Town Planning Commission stipends remained unchanged, totaling $29,000 for the seven-person board. Also, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals stipends were unchanged at $11,000 for the five-person board.

The Rotterdam Police Department is set to see a shrinking staff with DelGallo planning to demote three detectives back to patrolmen and lay off three patrolmen.

Rotterdam Police Chief James Hamilton said he hadn’t heard of such cuts before the meeting and said DelGallo had told him two detective positions were up for elimination. Overall, the police budget was reduced by over $200,000 compared to the 2011 modified budget.

Earlier in the meeting Town Comptroller Anthony Tangarone said not all department heads were aware of the proposed cuts before the budget was released.

“It is going to be a combination of some surprised and some not surprised,” said Tangarone. “The department heads are very well aware these cuts are on the line.”

Councilwoman Nicola DiLeva wasn’t pleased all department heads weren’t aware of the proposed cuts.

“I have a big problem with that,” she said.

DelGallo said an effort was made to spread cuts out evenly between all departments. Tangarone echoed his comments and said it will be a tough budget for every department.

“This is very painful … every department is suffering pain in this process. In order to get under the 2 percent tax cap limitation major alterations were needed,” said Tangarone. “This year is probably going to be as painful as next year. Things need to be looked at not only in just this year’s budget, but also going into the future.”

Senior programming in the town received an almost 50 percent reduction in funding compared to the modified 2011 budget, which held cuts nearing $85,000. The Brass Rail cafeteria at the center would be shut down and funding for 17 part-time positions is removed, which totals $30,500 in requested funds.

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RichardReevesEllington 2 years, 11 months ago

These stories have a common thread: towns do not have the funds to continue all current activities at current levels. The tax cap assures that this shortage of funds will continue. I argue that there are three alternatives to addressing this problem: expand the tax base, reduce spending in all areas that are not contractually or legally required, or reducing the services currently provided.

Historically, the tax base expansion has driven many local communities but the result is often tax breaks for the industries that locale locally and increased infrastructure costs. Without stronger negotiations and oversight, this is a poor choice. The current approach to budget shortages is to try to continue all activities but with fewer funds for each. This leads to slow and underfunded projects causing frustration for all. The third choice of stopping some activities seems beyond the abilities of our political classes.

My position is that the choices should be presented to the citizens of communities with concrete facts that effect each of the choices. Where possible, history should also be provided. Then a meaningful public discourse can be had upfront and not only after the poilicial machinery has decided what to do and open their decisions to the public.

For more information please go to my website www.bethlehemsupervisor.com. I am running for Bethlehem Town Supervisor and my position would drive the discussion of how to cope with current and projected budget funding.

Richard Reeves-Ellington WFP Candidate for Bethlehem Town Supervisor.

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