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Pleasantville Trustees Discuss Future Budget Cuts

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. –  The Pleasantville Board of Trustees met Monday night to discuss possible measures that the village may be forced to take in order to keep the budget from exceeding the state-imposed 2 percent property tax cap.

"There's always fat to cut," said Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer. "We're not going to cut major costs by just buying less road salt. In order to live within the cap, what are we prepared to cut?"

In fact, the village may need to cut far more than just road salt. According to Scherer at a work session held at the Village Hall, the village's budget is looking at exceeding the tax cap if they stay around the same budget from the 2010-11 year, by approximately $200,000. Scherer said that there are multiple options that the village can take to subside that number. These included raising the fund balance, increasing village fees, such as the cost for permits and other items, or cutting programs and other services.

The board said that the village's department and programs have not seen an increase in their budgets in years, but that they may need to reconsider certain aspects in order to comply with Cuomo's new cap.

"The question is putting a template out and saying this is the amount of money that we need to cut because of mandates from Albany, what services are we willing to impact?" said Trustee Jonathan Cunningham.

The board discussed the possibility of going to the department chairs and heads and asking them to evaluate their expenses to report to the board of what areas may be able to be reduced in order to reduce the budget. Trustee member Brian Skarstad suggested looking at what other area Westchester towns and villages are doing to cut costs, such as removing services like leaf removal.

Ironically, Governor Cuomo signed the tax cap bill in June in Pleasantvillle. Cuomo said his goal was to protect resident's property taxes from rising an exponential amount over the years. If the village chooses to exceed the two percent tax cap, a 60 percent vote in favor of the budget would be needed by the voters.

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