continued “The notion that you have to have a tax increase in order to accommodate certain choices is a false premise,” Kotary said. “The budget should work within how much revenue we have and the level at which taxes should be. The governor implemented a 2 percent cap for a reason.”
Although Bethlehem’s proposed budget calls for an 8 percent tax increase, it does fall within the tax cap because the formula takes into account the loss of Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements. The town could raise taxes by as much as 23 percent and stay under the tax cap.
Kotary said he plans to ask for a 10 percent reduction from the $14.2 million in proposed capital expenditures. That could potentially save $1.42 million from operational and capital reserves.
To further cut spending, Kotary suggested an additional reduction from the Human Resources and Management of Information Services Departments, and said the Supervisor should take a pay cut of $80,000 from his salary, as Clarkson also collects a state pension as a retiree.
“If he doesn’t double dip, we could cut taxes by 1 percent,” Kotary said.
Another public hearing will take place before the budget is accepted.