Buchanan Slashes Budget, Still Above 2 Percent Cap

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Buchanan Trustees Theresa Knickerbocker and Nick Zachary.
Buchanan Trustees Theresa Knickerbocker and Nick Zachary. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

BUCHANAN, N.Y. – The Village of Buchanan Board of Trustees skimmed the budget line-by-line Tuesday night, trimming about $35,000 from the village’s $8 million budget.

Cuts appeared matter-of-fact, as Mayor Sean Murray said, “Why don’t we take $500 out of it?” to everything from the parks and recreation budget to expenses provided for the mayor and trustees for conferences. The board looked to administrator Kevin Hay for guidance, even telling Hay he could object to any cut, although he rarely did.

The largest cut, $23,000, came when Murray said the village would lay off the recently hired prosecutor, and that the five-member Buchanan Police Department would instead prosecute tickets.

The village cut $500 from the originally $6,300 “village elections” budget, though Hay said the village will have to change from the traditional village “lever machines” to optical scanning machines. Hay admitted it had been difficult to ascertain how much it would cost in the future to run village elections with the new machines.

“I really want this below 4 percent,” Murray said. He suggested taking $10,000 from the contingency fund to keep the tax increase below the 2 percent New York State tax cap, even though the board overrode the measure months ago. The village now has approximately $50,000 in its contingency fund.

Other trustees appeared apprehensive at the idea, since it came to light that the village has suffered nearly weekly water main breaks since the middle of February.

“We used to have $1 million contingencies, that’ll never happen again,” said Trustee Theresa Knickerbocker. “But these water main breaks are making me nervous.”

The village receives significant support from Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants, which are located in the village. Nearly $2 million is paid to the village each year in a payment in lieu of taxes agreement between the village and the power plant.

This PILOT, along with nearly $3.2 million the village draws from water revenues, means the village must only levy about $1.7 million from real property taxes. With all the cuts, village officials believe the tax rate for Buchanan homeowners per $1,000 assessed value will be $228.14, or about $1,027 for the average homeowner in Buchanan (assessed at about $4,500).

The proposed budget estimated the tax rate at $233.11, or $1,049 for the average homeowner. According to Buchanan village officials, another $15,505 must be cut from the budget to reach the 2 percent cap.

Entergy also recently gave the village a grant of $25,000 for a new police car, and $5,000 annually for Buchanan Day.

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Comments (5)

Perhaps you should read the newspaper, check out the Village website, watch the meetings on TV, or show a little interest and you would know that the issue of the 2% tax cap was discussed during two public hearings and two Board meetings. The notice was published TWICE....I know because I read them and saw them posted at the Village and in the paper. The Budget is available for anyone to view.....again, wake up. Before you complain, get involved!

How can the author of this article be so vague about the proposed tax increase in Buchanan yet be so accurate when it comes to reporting on Croton's tax increase? The board (Buchanan) has been spending money like drunken sailors on leave and now they have no answer for keeping the tax increase under the 2% cap. What is your agenda here Ms. Glenza?

How about a follow up with exactly what the increase will be! The reason for the increase is irrelevant now that the majority of the board was re-elected. Funny how that works out.

Perhaps QB1 is right, the village should be absorbed by the town and be called Verplanck.

I don't think Ms Glenza has any agenda. I think she reports the news based on the information she is given. It's not her job to ask why the Board has spent like drunken sailors. Perhaps they are not as forthcoming or transparent as Croton when it comes to reporting tax increases.

What is even more ridiculous is that without much public knowledge this Board voted to override the tax cap without any public input. That's their idea of Democracy. Had I been aware of any of these facts I would have voted to replace very single one of them. Instead I will continue researching how we can dissolve the Village.

Regardless, your request for an answer to what the exact increase will be is the correct one and must be directed to the Village Mayor and Board. I for one expect an answer.

QB your statement is ridiculous- the vote to override the tax cap was very public and there was plenty of notification given to the public-it was even used in campaign literature during the election cycle. Maybe you need to attend more meetings watch them on tv or look at a paper- because you're pretty in the dark apparently.

The Village of Buchanan does not need to exist. We don't need a separate sanitation dept or a Mayor, Board of Trustees, Village employees or Police dept with new vehicles etc. We have the Town of Cortlandt and it's services along with the State and County police that patrol in Buchanan now!
I would really like to see the village dissolved and incorporated into the town of Cortlandt. It's time to prepare for the inevitable closing of Indian Point and the loss of that annual revenue.