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Sleepy Hollow Trustees Discuss Tax Cap at Meeting

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. - The possible negative impact of the new property tax cap was once again discussed during Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, after Trustee Bruce Campbell brought a recent Journal News article to the Board’s attention.

The article notes that a recent report by Moody’s Investor Services, a large credit-rating agency, said the tax cap is likely to cause additional strain on local governments.

“It’s more proof that this is a bad law,” he said.

Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray agreed and brought up the issue of credit ratings, which was also mentioned in the article, because a decline in credit rating would affect interest rates and limiting tax increases could impact how a local government or school district would pay back any bonds.

Wray noted that it probably wouldn’t disrupt the village, as it has averaged budgets under two percent the past few years. However, he said it could very well impact the school district.

Sleepy Hollow resident Mario Belanich spoke about the impact of rising property taxes on senior citizens, pointing out that taxes keep rising as social security checks stay the same. Belanich argued the village should “start looking for waste” instead of raising property taxes.

“If we do that, I think we’re going to save a lot,” he said.

One of his suggestions included not replacing people as they retire. Wray mentioned that the village already has a program in place that provides extended tax benefits to senior citizens.

“We do take care of our seniors,” Wray said. “Let’s not let that get forgotten.”

Campbell explained that his opposition to the property tax cap did not mean he was in favor of higher taxes. What he opposes, he said, is when the state limits the power of local people to set their own tax rates.

“They don’t know what our situation is,” he said.

Wray noted that the board was already looking at cost-saving measures and said that “it’s going to be tough,” especially because the state did not reduce many mandates that it makes local governments pay for and that appear in budgets. Layoffs, Wray said, may very well be one solution the village comes up with to meet the property tax cap.

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