CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Croton's Board of Trustees held a public hearing and passed a local law at a meeting Tuesday night that allows the village to override the tax cap but heard hardly a word from the public on it.
The only speaker was John McBride, the Croton Democratic Committee chairman. The tax cap was "one of the most incredibly stupid laws the legislature has done," he said.
"On this law, local law, I think you would be highly remiss not to pass this law today," said McBride.
After no one else rose to speak, the Board of Trustees closed the public hearing and unanimously passed the local law giving the village the option of overriding the tax cap. Trustee Ian Murtaugh was absent and did not vote.
"We've talked about it, there's no penalty for passing it, there's only a penalty for not passing it," trustee Casey Raskob said.
The "penalty" Raskob referred is a reserve fund a municipality is forced to create if inadvertently overrides the cap due to a "clerical or technical error." The village would be forced to put excess money raised into a reserve to offset the following year's tax levy.
But the village does not intend to override the cap, more than one trustee said.
"It does not signify any intention whatsoever to exceed the tax cap levy. It is just the prudent thing to do," Croton Village Trustee Ann Gallelli said. "As was pointed out we did this last year, which was the first year the tax cap law was in force."
Residents likely won't see the village manager's proposed budget until the third week in March. The final budget must be adopted by the last day in April.
Although the state has advertised the tax cap as "2 percent," individual municipalities go through calculations that make each tax levy cap individual to the district.
For example, after using the state's complex formula to calculate the 2013 tax levy cap, Croton-Harmon School District cap is about 3.1 percent. The district is still waiting on figures from the state to finalize the number.
The Town of Cortlandt did not override the tax levy cap in its 2013 fiscal year budget.