Rhinebeck’s $5.7 million 2021 budget increases the overall tax levy by 2.2% staying under the tax cap, with much of the increase spread across newly reassessed properties in the village.
The Rhinebeck Town Board approved the budget at its Oct. 26 meeting following a public hearing.
A town-wide reassessment completed this year raised the average property valuation by 28% in the village and 24% in the rest of town. However, the reassessment will affect each residential and commercial property differently when it comes to what they’ll pay.
Reassessment is a periodic reevaluation of each property’s value for tax purposes. That value, relative to the value of other properties, helps determine the amount of property taxes paid by the owner. A property with a higher assessed value will pay more in property taxes.
Before reassessment, village properties paid 92 cents per $1,000 valuation and town owners paid $1.80. Next year, village properties will pay 78 cents per $1,000 of value in property taxes and town properties will pay $1.45. But with properties reassessed at higher value, taxes will be up 2.2% on average.
“Our real estate is worth more, so it looks like the levies are down,” Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia said. “It’s hard to compare this  budget to 2020 for that reason.”
For the owner of a newly reassessed $300,000 property, the town’s share of property taxes in 2021 will be $234 in the village and $435 in the town. Depending on how reassessment affected the property, that could be more or less than last year.
Village residents pay less to the town because they receive some of their services through village government.
Spinzia says the town is aware of a potential loss in state aid, though it is too soon to know by how much. A cut in Rhinebeck’s share of sales tax from Dutchess County is also expected.
“COVID-19 has caused some revenue loss, especially in our sales tax share and interest on savings,” she said.
The town will also use $939,661 from its fund balances, commonly known as the “rainy day fund,” during what they hope is a temporary dip in revenues and to fund some one-time projects.
“We’re very financially strong,” Spinzia said. “We have a vibrant funds balance and are living well within our means here.”
The 2021 budget includes several significant projects totaling nearly $500,000, including: replacing and repairing highway garage doors, $24,000; tennis and basketball court fencing, tennis backboard and windscreen, $35,000; town hall updates (shutter, trim and woodwork renovation, rebuilding and repainting, $40,000; cemetery wall rebuilding fund, $50,000; continuing to fund the Amtrak to Village Trail Initiative, $18,000; town hall office renovations in conjunction with the court consolidation, $50,000; natural burial ground survey, $8,000; Conway Institute sustainable park project (pollinator gardens or shade trees), $10,000; planting new trees or shrubs at the tennis courts, $5,000.
The budget also reserves funds for the consolidation of the town and village courts. Though the consolidation will cost the town more, a September report said that efficiency and overall savings across municipalities would save taxpayers $26,000 annually.
Spinzia said she hopes the consolidation will go through so the town can provide better services to its taxpayers.