Take part in the budget process

in

To The Editor;
The Town of Middletown Board has approved a preliminary budget for 2013 of +5.4 percent at its regular Tuesday Board meeting on October 9th. Just last month the board approved Local Law 5, which permitted the board to exceed Governor Cuomo’s 2 percent annual property tax increase enacted by the state legislature and signed by him.

The board then discovered that using a special formula they could increase the budget instead by 3.3 percent and still stay within Cuomo’s cap. What decision on tax increases for Middletown residents will the town board make in November? Your next tax bill will show.

I have attended past years town board budget hearings and have objected to large property tax increases proposed during the four-year recession, insisting on better cost control, improved efficiencies and essentially asking department heads to do what managers in private business must do: manage costs, promote efficiencies, increase productivity.

I was not entirely alone. There were always a few other concerned taxpayers in the audience; perhaps six or seven out of the current 2,052 registered Middletown voters. That translates to an audience of 0.3 percent of taxpaying voters. The board, of course, is not concerned with such minute numbers and consequently they will do what they want to do: raise taxes and increase expenditures without meaningful public input.

The half-dozen or so of us that will object know that it is a joke. We are only going through the motions. I will request the board to consider a 0.0 percent increase at the next public budget hearing scheduled for November 7 at town hall. I know what they will give me.

Attend this budget hearing for your own good and speak up and say you want to keep tax increases well within the two percent cap. Call Patty Kelly, town clerk at 586-4566 to get information on all meeting dates and times and pick up a copy of the budget (no, it is not easy to understand). I heard many people complain about tax increases over the past few years. If you want to talk about it my first question will be: Did you attend the budget hearings? If not, well…!

Chuck Freas,
Margaretville