Cortlandt's Proposed 2013 Budget Shows Few Surprises

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Cortlandt's proposed 2013 budget shows a 1.4 percent spending increase.
Cortlandt's proposed 2013 budget shows a 1.4 percent spending increase. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Cortlandt residents aren't likely to see many surprises in their tax bills next year if the current proposed 2013 budget is adopted.

The $36.9 million budget carries a 2 percent tax levy increase for unincorporated Cortlandt, or a 1.4 percent spending increase.

If adopted, the budget suggests the village of Buchanan would see a 2.8 percent increase, while the village of Croton would see a rise of 3.5 percent. Both villages pay for services provided by the town in addition to village taxes.

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi said Monday at a town board work session that her town has kept taxes lower than other Westchester towns for the 22 years she has been supervisor.

"This is the amount that Cortlandt taxpayers have paid on the average assessed property – $334 for 23 years," Puglisi said. "The annual average increase has been $15 per year. Name one other town that can say the same."

About 11 percent of taxes paid by Cortlandt residents come from the town, while county taxes account for 15 percent and 69 percent come from school taxes.

While the town's finances are on firm footing, there have been issues the town has been forced to deal with due to the recession, officials said.

"We used to get over $3.5 million and now we're around less than 1 million," Comptroller Glenn Cestaro said of the town's mortgage taxes. "It's the same thing with the sales tax, that's dropped significantly. We got around $2.5 million (this year) but at one point that was $3 million."

Interest income, which at one point was almost $2 million per year, is now down to around $90,000, Cestaro added.

According to Moody's, the town can borrow up to $440 million, but currently has $10 million in debt.

A budget must be adopted by the Town Board by Dec. 20. The board will hold public hearings in the coming weeks before voting on the budget.

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