ARMONK, N.Y. – Thanks to a well-managed budget in 2012, the town of North Castle now has an $800,000 surplus available as it moves forward with its 2013 budget, which was approved last month.
Town Supervisor Howard Arden is looking forward to putting the surplus to good use.
“The savings from 2012 will go first toward much-needed infrastructure projects,” he said. “Things like road repairs, building repairs and a new generator are items that have been put off in previous years that we can now tend to.”
In addition to having last year’s surplus, the 2013 budget of about $28.9 million is well below the state's 2 percent tax cap and is $250,000 less in overall expenses than its predecessor. The budget will require a $63.86 tax increase for a North Castle resident with a property assessed at $909,000, the town's median price. That increase is believed to be among the smallest of any town in Westchester — if not the smallest.
“The surplus did not happen by accident,” Arden said. “As I promised when I ran for this position, I have managed North Castle like a business. We made good progress last year and I am optimistic about 2013. I have a wish list of things I’d like to see happen and the added flexibility gives us the opportunity to look into those.”
One item on Arden’s wish list is the concept of burying power lines. Such a process would be an ideal solution to avoiding power outage issues brought on by storms, like Hurricane Sandy. However, the process requires a lot of time and a lot of money.
“Yes, it will be expensive and it will not happen over night, but a strategic decision must be made to start the process,” he said. “I’m going to stir that pot pretty good.”
Arden said this past year — his first year as town supervisor — was about streamlining personnel and managing the expected learning curve of the position. Going forward, he believes the town is well positioned to initiate bigger, more exciting projects.
“I think we’re finally in fighting shape,” he said.