The Village Council Finance Committee is meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, May 31 at 7:00 pm to discuss the Village’s capital needs and how these needs might be financed. The capital needs budget can be reviewed in its entirety here. The format will be an open meeting with public participation and an open question and answer session. There is a lot to cover and to consider. Accordingly a follow up meeting may be required. Also, some residents may want to discuss this proposal and will be unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
The capital maintenance and improvement budget is organized into three sections:
1. The first section sets forth specifically what we believe the village’s capital needs are by specific project and the year we propose doing the project. The far right hand column explains why we believe the project needs to be done. The projects are grouped by area. For example, all the road programs are grouped together, as is stormwater management etc.
2. The second section details projected budget cuts we are pursuing by changing some of the village operations. For example, moving to a new healthcare plan when our current contract expires, or implementing a comprehensive parking plan. The negative numbers in each year’s columns unfortunately reflect the remaining unmet revenue needs. This unmet need can only be resolved by declining to address some of the specific projects listed above or by a tax increase. See the Financial Review Committee’s report for their conclusions on the village potential to fill the funding short falls with savings from operations and also for their conclusions on the Village’s deferral of capital projects over the last few years
3. The third section details the Administration’s proposal to increase revenue and in it, we are proposing that council authorize the village to put an income tax increases on the November 2016 ballot for the voters to decide. With the reduction and elimination of both state aid and the estate tax, the choice is simple and stark, raise additional revenue or decide what does not get done; hence why we listed specific projects and assigned proposed dates to them. In the Administration’s view, it is up to the residents to decide what kind of town they want. The proposed tax increase will allow the village to fund its capital expenditures and restore prudent balances in the capital improvement fund. This will allow us to reestablish the minimum capital fund balance identified by the financial review committee on page 6 of their report.
The Administration is proposing an income tax increase and not a property tax increase as it does not affect those residents living on a fixed income. In addition, part of the increased tax will be borne by visitors to the village. The income tax only taxes wages and business income, NOT retirement or passive income. The increase we are proposing to Council is 0.35%, a little over a third of a percent and will take our rate from the current 1.5% to 1.85, which is still less than many other communities. The tax credit received by resident living in the village and working in another taxing municipality remains UNCHANGED at 75%. This credit is still much greater than many other communities. RITA has estimated that for the majority of our residents who live in the village and work in another taxing municipality, the proposed tax increase will cost them $43.75 per $50,000, which is less than a dollar a week. For an individual both living and working in the village or living in the village and working in a non-taxing township such as Bainbridge, the prosed tax increase will cost them $175.00 per $50,000 of taxable income. This proposed increase will raise $750,000 of additional revenue and in our judgement, adequately financing the village capital needs. My memo to council which more fully explaining out proposal can be seen here.
I’ve spent the last few months evaluating our current financial situation, creating a detailed list of specific capital projects and assigning proposed dates to them. It is up to the residents to decide what kind of town they want. As I said in the beginning, there is a lot here to think about, question and understand.
I hope you can join us next Tuesday to start this process.
Mayor Bill Tomko