ARMONK, N.Y. – North Castle went back to the drawing board after its preliminary 2013 budget called for a tax hike of $131. The result: additional savings that lowered the tax increase to about $63.
"I know this is a responsible budget," said town board member Michael Schiliro. "There's more work to be done in the future but this shows good progress that we've been able to cut our own expenses."
The town board presented the final budget at its regular meeting Wednesday night at Town Hall in Armonk. Since presenting the preliminary budget two weeks ago, the town made about $400,000 in reductions, which includes $190,000 in staff cuts. The town did not specify which employees or departments would be affected by this reduction.
The $28.9 million budget was adopted with a 4-to-1 vote, with Diane DiDonato-Roth voting against it. DiDonato-Roth said that she believed the tax levy increase should have been zero, instead of 1.75 percent.
"We're so close to zero increase," DiDonato-Roth. "I think getting to zero would send a message to residents and people looking to move here that we're holding the line."
The total 2013 budget is $250,000 less than the 2012 budget. However, mandates, such as pension and health care costs, left the town with no choice but for a tax levy increase, town comptroller Faith Berland said.
Town Supervisor Howard Arden said he was proud of the town's ability to have such a low tax levy increase and that he believes it is the smallest increase of any town in Westchester County.
"That's a real accomplishment," Arden said.