Wednesday night the Red Hook Town Board approved a budget by a 4-1 margin with a 24% ($116 on avg) increase in taxes for homes in the town and a 42% ($72 on avg) increase for village homeowners. The increases apply to the town portion of the tax bill.
On a home outside the villages assessed at $280,000, town taxes would increase from $482 to $598 ($116). Inside the villages, the town tax would move from $171 to $242 ($72). There will also be a $20 per year increase due to the approved library referendum, an $8 per year increase from the fire district and a $12 increase for street lighting. School taxes are set independently of the town and village boards and make up approximately 2/3 of all local property taxes with the rest being county, town and village (where applicable).
Among the increases approved was a 2% salary increase for town employees and a $66,000 contingency line to prevent the town from dipping into reserve funds if there are unforeseen expenses. Also approved was an additional $25,000 to pay for so-called chargebacks – new fees pushed down onto the town by the county legislature to pay for election costs.
The only NO vote on the budget was from Councilwoman Micki Strawinski (D) who felt there was more that could be cut from the budget. “I felt it was important to keep the public hearing open. Prior budget meetings had not been broadcast on PANDA and I believe it is important for the people to see what is happening,” said Strawinski. “Tonight’s was the first budget meeting to be recorded by PANDA and by the time it is broadcast, the budget will be a done deal.” PANDA is the local public access channel and records and broadcasts only two meetings per month.
Affirmative votes on the budget came from Supervisor Sue Crane (R), Councilman Harry Colgan (D), Councilman Bill O’Neill (D) and Councilman Jim Ross (R).