Rhinebeck readies village budget

After weeks of budget workshops, the Village of Rhinebeck board has apparently nailed down a tentative budget.

Village taxpayers will be hit with a 5.4 percent increase in the property tax levy this year, Mayor Jim Reardon told The Observer, although the numbers are still tentative and the budget has yet to be voted on. The increase requires an override of the state-mandated 2 percent property tax cap, but Reardon had predicted that back in February, when the budget workshops began.

He had also predicted a tax hike of at least 4 percent based on the new police station. Of the 5.4 percent total tax increase in the budget, Reardon said approximately 3.9 percent comes from the new police station.

“It was no secret” that building the station would force the board to break the cap, he added.

Without the police station, the village would have likely stayed under the tax cap, he said.

Elsewhere, he said, “We tried to cut expenses as much as we can.”

The most noticeable change in recent weeks has been the agreement by the board to dissolve the village’s waste removal service, which is used by less than half of village residents.

“It is our intention to eliminate the garbage service,” Reardon said.

The board plans to continue the service in full for the first quarter of the upcoming fiscal year before ending it.

“This goes back to 2008,” Reardon said of discussions to end the waste removal

The village won’t realize much in upfront savings, according to Reardon, because they will not be reducing the labor it takes to operate the service, just reassigning those workers elsewhere. However, Reardon said the village is only about one year away from needing to buy new garbage equipment, so the village is protecting itself from future costs.

“In the future, we don’t have to bond out new equipment,” Reardon said.

Much of the other increases in the budget come from fixed costs, Reardon said, such as $57,000 for employee pensions and $25,000 for state-mandated equipment for the Fire Department.

To save money, Reardon said the board looked through every line item to find savings where it could.

The next public hearing on the budget will be held April 29 at 7pm.

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