Departments make 2016 budget requests

Several department heads came before the Town Board last Monday night to make budget requests for funding to operate in 2016.

All department heads have been advised to keep their budgets as close as possible to flat for 2016 to help meet the New York state mandated 0.7% tax cap.

Receiver of taxes

Deirdre Casper, the town’s receiver of taxes, said her budget of $146,000 “contained no significant increase at all and was virtually the same as in 2015.”

“However, if there is any possibility of an investment in new software, I do have a wish list,” she said. Casper said she was missing two important components of software that make it possible for residents to pay their taxes online and receive their receipts and bills via email. The total cost would be $6,170 and would complete a system already partially in place.

“We would then be fully automated, and I think a lot of our residents would want to pay online,” she said. “They would be credited immediately and this would be an extra benefit to our taxpayers.”

Tax assessor

Lise Robertson, the town’s tax assessor, presented a $112,000 budget with less than a 2% increase.

“Everything is pretty much the same as last year,” she said. “I did reduce tax mapping to save some funds.” Robertson said she needed only $9,675 in day-to-day expense money to run her department for 2016.

Parks & Recreation

Superintendent of Parks & Recreation Dana Mayclim asked officials for $1,547,000 to run her programs for 2016.

Her budget showed cuts in day camp counselors and the elimination of sports camp, which officials said had been dropping registrants since the popular head counselor resigned.

Mayclim said the Main Event camp would be tweaked to add more sports opportunities, featuring one-week sport-specific options.

Her $15,000 in savings for the coming year includes the cost of retooling the popular Teen Treks program.

Mayclim said she continues to investigate setting up a system for payment online as well as researching generating revenue for outside use of Parks & Recreation facilities, including the pool.

Town Justice Court

“We are once again presenting our typical bare-bones budget,” said town Justice Marc Seedorf as he presented his and Justice Susan Simon’s request for $156,000 to run their department for 2016.

Two increases shown in the budget were for translators, needed to fulfill legal requirements, and for scanning software to allow faster access to past records, also mandated by law.

Seedorf said he planned to offset the costs with savings on court stenographers.

Seedorf noted that the town’s decision to retain two full-time court clerks made a few years ago had benefited the town’s finances and the functioning of the court. He thanked officials for keeping them on board.

Library

Representatives of the Lewisboro Library presented a total budget of $510,891 that asked for a 3.3% increase in funding from the town. The amount requested was $380,881.

In order to offset the requested increase and balance their budget they are charging themselves with increasing gifts and contributions by a full 25% in 2016.

Library Director Cindy Rubino said the additional town funding was needed to cover staff raises of 2.625% and health benefits as well as plans to increase purchases of e-books, CDs and additional traditional books.

Superintendent Peter Parsons, a former president of the Library Board, noted the library is now in “unchallenged last place in terms of receiving the lowest amount of tax dollars expended per capita versus every other library in Westchester. Most comparable communities in our area spend four times as much as we do on a per capita basis,” he said.

About author
Jane K. Dove is an independent journalist and publicist working in the tri-state area. A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and honed her skills as a writer working as associate director of public affairs at New York Medical College. She has reported for the Ledger for three decades.

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