ARMONK, N.Y. — With mandated costs alone already exceeding the 2 percent tax levy cap, the North Castle Town Board said at its meeting Wednesday night that it is faced with a difficult task to further cut taxes in the 2013 budget.
One way to reduce the budget would be to further reduce or reorganize departments within the town, which Town Board member Michael Schiliro said was already being done in excess.
"We've been working with doing more with less for years now, and there's a huge challenge there," Schiliro said.
The current 2013 preliminary budget, with a tax levy increase of 3.79 percent, would raise taxes by about $131 for the average assessed home in North Castle. Decreasing the tax levy increase to 2 percent would cost residents an increase of about $107.
Mandated costs make up for the majority of the tax levy increases, Town Supervisor Howard Arden said. The Town Board is looking for ways to further cut the budget, and a public hearing was held at Wednesday night's meeting at Town Hall in Armonk.
A few residents spoke out with comments, questions and their own advice on what should stay or go. Armonk resident Michael Fareri said he was tired of the town raising taxes while still cutting services or keeping them status quo, which he related to a customer experience.
"You can go out to restaurant and pay $50 for a nice steak and feel really good about it afterward," Fareri said. "But then you come back the next day and you pay $100 for the same steak and you don't feel so good about."
The town board closed the public hearing without making any changes or adopting the budget. The board will hold public work sessions from 8 to 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at Hergenhan Recreation Center and at the same time Dec. 10 at Town Hall. Both work sessions will allow the board to have more time for further work on the budget before voting on it.
"This is a work in progress," Town Supervisor Howard Arden said.