North Castle Budget Surplus To Open Opportunities

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North Castle Town Supervisor Howard Arden is very optimistic about 2013.
North Castle Town Supervisor Howard Arden is very optimistic about 2013. Photo Credit: Robert Michelin

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.

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Comments (5)

Howard has done what he said he would do: Get the budget under control; transition the town from political cronies to professional managers; address hard issues in an open and transparent manner and make hard decisions; significantly cut his own salary and begin to eliminate unsustainable and unjustified benefit packages, and manage town finances in a way which leaves money for repairing town infrastructure. After over a decade of town leadership which focused on padding their own pockets and those of their cronies in the town, Howard is a breath of fresh air.

Supervisor Arden's conduct during his time as supervisor has been completely unacceptable. Insulting residents, calling for meetings at times no one can attend so him and his two pals can pass things without any other input. It's absolutely disgraceful.

I agree with Dr. Johnson. Reese Berman and Bill Weaver treated the town as if it was their own piggy bank. Now Supervisor Arden is making the tough choices.

It's nice to finally have a supervisor that's more interested in doing what's best for the town rather than worrying about his/her pension and keeping his cronies on salary. Let's hope that Arden continues his good work for another term!