Town of
Royalton
Niagara County, NY
 Minutes 

November 14, 2011: PUBLIC HEARING - LOCAL LAW #3 FOR 2011-OVERRIDE TAX LEVY FOR 2012

Body:
 

PUBLIC HEARING

Local Law No. 3 for 2011 - Override of the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c for the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, for Fiscal Year 2012

November 14, 2011

 

The Public Hearing of the Town of Royalton was held on Monday, November 14, 2011, at the Royalton Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport, New York.  The meeting was called to order by Supervisor Richard J. Lang at 7:05 PM with the Pledge to the Flag.

 

The following were present:

 

Supervisor                                Richard J. Lang

Town Clerk                              Marie L. Little, RMC/CMC

Town Board Members               Jennifer Bieber, Daniel Bragg, James Budde, Bradley Rehwaldt

Water/Sewer Superintendent    Daniel Morse

Town Attorney                        Thomas H. Brandt

Also present were:                    See Attached Sheets

 

The purpose of this meeting was to hear and consider the information contained in the Local Law Entitled "Override of the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law § 3-c for the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, for Fiscal Year 2012.

 

Supervisor Lang explained the reason to pass the Local Law.  Supervisor Lang stated that we need to do this in case of the possibility that the tax levy goes over the 2% tax cap, due to issues unbeknownst to us.  The 2012 budget is currently at a 1.95% increase over this year.  By doing this we are trying to cover the town from incurring any penalties, which would be four (4) times greater than what the violation would be. 

 

Ms. Mary Cedeno, Lincoln Avenue, asked what the dollar figure would be between the 1.95% and the 2%.  Councilman Budde stated that it would be approximately $6,000.00. 

 

Mr. Nicholas Capitumino, Gasport, asked for an explanation pertaining to the punishment.  Attorney Brandt stated that the state would not take the money from the town but the amount that we may go over would be required to be put in a special account for a year.  Attorney Brandt stated that this money could not be used. 

 

Mr. Carlos Cedeno, Lincoln Avenue, stated that the whole purpose for the cap is because government spending has gotten out of hand.  The private sector has to live within their means and does not have the opportunity to go out and tax people because they feel like it.  Mr. Cedeno stated that is seems to be that if the board is asking for money that they don't need it will lead to more spending.  Mr. Cedeno stated that the town board would be penalizing the people.  Mr. Cedeno stated that the government does not have the right to take one penny more than what they need to run their business. 

 

Councilman Budde addressed Mr. Cedeno and stated that the plan for tonight is to have a vote on the budget that they have worked on for a number of weeks.  The budget comes in less than the 2%.  The only reason for the 2% vote is for a safeguard for the town in the event that there is a miscalculation between the state and/or us.  Some of the things that we have to factor in when we plan for a budget aren't guaranteed funds.  One of these things is the CHIPS monies that come from the state.  The town board does not plan to spend any more funds than what we have in the budget. 

 

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

Local Law No. 3 for 2011 - Override of the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c for the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, for Fiscal Year 2012

November 14, 2011

Page 2

 

 

Our budget is very close to the 2% cap.  This is just to safeguard the town so we are not penalized by what the state set up in this 2% criteria.     

 

Attorney Brandt stated that this is the first year that this law is now in effect.  If you look at the calculations that the state uses to arrive at the 2% limit, it is very complicated, it's not just (A) plus (B) plus (C) equals (D).  The Association of Towns sent out a memo suggesting that the towns pass this 2% override due to the uncertainty of the calculations.  The Association of Towns recommended that the towns pass this local law no matter what your budget is  - a ½%, 1%, or whatever increase it is.  This local law is to protect the town in the event of a miscalculation that may come up in an audit. 

 

Councilman Budde addressed this issue again pertaining to the state mandates that the town board has no control over.  Lengthy discussion continued regarding this issue. 

 

Mr. Mike Miano, Middleport, stated that he is totally against the 2% tax override.  If he has to turn his heat down to 45 degrees in the winter then he has to do it.  The government needs to do the same.  The town board needs to look at every dime spent. 

 

Mrs. Donna Van Buren, Block Church Road, stated that this doesn't have to do with what is being talked about.  This is to protect us if something unforeseen happens.  Mrs. Van Buren stated that the Town of Lockport had a large sink hole that had to be repaired.  They had not budgeted for this expense but the money still had to be spent.  If we have a sink hole down in Gasport due to the old sewers we will need to fix it whether we had budgeted for it or not. 

 

A lengthy discussion continued with the members of the public regarding this issue. 

 

Mr. Scott Wymczak stated that this town board has worked hard on this budget and there is no fat in this budget.  The board has worked hard and begun to prepare for the future, especially for the retirements in the coming years. 

 

Lengthy discussion continued with the members of the public regarding this issue. 

 

Supervisor Lang stated that he has been involved with this budget for two (2) years as a Councilman and four (4) years as Supervisor and he is ultra conservative on our spending.  Supervisor Lang stated that we have to keep up with the maintenance of our buildings and grounds.  Supervisor Lang stated that we have eliminated six (6) bonds and have not taken out any more since he has been here.  Supervisor Lang stated that 10% of our budget is mandated items.  We still have a lot of water line bonds that we have to pay.  Supervisor Lang stated that we do not have any frivolous amounts of money and he believes that if we had any extra money it should be in the tax payers pockets and that is what he always tries to do. 

 

Councilman Rehwaldt stated that he heard the comment made from the audience that we were asking for more money.  Councilman Rehwaldt wanted to reiterate that we are not asking for any more money - the budget figure is still a 1.95% increase. 

 

 

 

PUBLIC HEARING

Local Law No. 3 for 2011 - Override of the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c for the Town of Royalton, Niagara County, for Fiscal Year 2012

November 14, 2011

Page 3

 

Supervisor Lang stated that the budget has been kept below 2% for the four (4) years that he has been Supervisor and he considers that pretty darn good.  Supervisor Lang stated that we have had numerous meetings on the budget and only had a handful of people in attendance.  Supervisor Lang stated that he appreciates everyone being here this evening but everyone had the opportunity to attend all the other meetings as well. 

 

Ms. Mary Cedeno stated that she knows that the town board does the best that they can.  Ms. Cedeno stated that they are not setting in the galley at every meeting because they voted for the board members to do their job and they rely on them to do the job. 

 

A resident stated that the 2% tax cap keeps everyone honest and we shouldn't need to pass the override. 

 

Ms. Scott Wymczak stated that the town board has put protections in place with the bridge fund that has been set up to plan for the future.  Discussion ensued regarding this issue. 

 

Councilwoman Bieber explained that five (5) years ago the town was mandated to repair three (3) bridges at a cost of $750,000.00.  There was no money set aside for this expense at that time so the amount had to be bonded to make the repairs.  The town board never wants to find itself or any other board in the future, in that position again and has taken steps to set up a bridge reserve fund to set aside monies to make repairs to the bridges that will help them to last longer and also to put towards the costs of any other major repairs in the future.  The town board is trying to be prepared. 

 

Councilman Budde stated that later on in the agenda there will be a resolution to set up a reserve fund for celebrations.  There will be a milestone reached in our community and the board wants to put money aside for this particular event.  If changes come up, nobody ever remembers what the last board did.  By doing this, the monies will be available.  This board is trying to think proactively in to the future. 

 

Ms. Kathleen Huber, Chestnut Ridge Road, asked Councilman Bragg to explain what the 2% issue means in simple language.  Councilman Bragg addressed this issue again and stated that we have a time frame to pass this law.  The board is at the eleventh hour to vote this in.  When the board first started they argued whether or not to vote this in because they didn't know where the tax levy was going to be.  This issue is on the tax levy, not the tax rate.  The board planned to stay below 2% all along.  The 4%, 5%, and 30% tax increases have to stop in this town and it has under Supervisor Lang and this board.  This local law has to be filed shortly.  Councilman Bragg explained the equation that is being used.  The state uses a tax based growth factor as one of their indicators and it is 1.0048 - say the state says it is 1.0065 - now we will have to come up with additional monies quickly before we file this by November 20th.  If the state comes back with a wrong calculation, this local law will protect the town.  

 

There being no further information to come before the town board regarding this matter a motion was made by Councilman Budde, seconded by Councilwoman Bieber and carried unanimously that the Public Hearing be closed at 7:45 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Marie L. Little, RMC/CMC

Marie L. Little, RMC/CMC

Royalton Town Clerk