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Towns deal with tax cap

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

— Ron Severson, chairman for the town Parks and Recreation Commission, said the parks and recreation programs in the town under the proposed budget would face drastic cuts of around $150,000.

“To gut the entire parks and recreation program I think is deplorable,” said Severson. “I know times are tough, but to completely gut that, what does that leave for the quality of life in our town?”

Councilman Wayne Calder commented on how other municipalities were able to come under the tax cap without layoffs proposed.

“I find it difficult to comprehend that the City of Schenectady, the Town of Niskayuna and the Town of Glenville can all stay under 2 percent and not lay anybody off,” said Calder. “Is there some reason why we’re in so much trouble compared to everybody else?”

Tangarone said it is a “simple answer:” he believed the towns are staffed much lighter compared to Rotterdam and the towns haven’t depleted their fund balances as drastically over the last few years.

Glenville freezes new hires

Before Glenville Supervisor Christopher Koetzle even released his budget, he announced a six-month hiring freeze to reap savings.

“[The] hiring freeze is currently for six months and we will reevaluate it at that point if we are going to extend it or proceed from there,” said Koetzle.

The three full-time positions and two part-time positions reduced through attrition in Glenville’s Tentative 2012 Budget and the hiring freeze would result in a savings of $147,000. Other cuts in the budget are $76,000 to the Highway Department’s paving and equipment, $10,000 to the leaf pick-up program while continuing service, $12,000 from non-town run programs and reducing overtime expenses by $10,000.

“I tried to make sure the cuts were in places that would have the least impact to town services,” Koetzle said. “It doesn’t mean we are not going to be challenged to try to find ways to do things differently.”

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RichardReevesEllington 2 years, 6 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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