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On September 27, 2010, the Board initiated the budget process for the Village fiscal year ending May 31, 2012, a full 7 months before the required adoption of the budget. The budget process involves extensive meetings with department heads and Village management, as well as numerous Village Board meetings with opportunities for public input. An early start to the budget process better enables the Village Board and management to identify and address the fiscal challenges ahead.
The initial projections set forth by Village management reveal significant challenges for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2012. If these challenges are not addressed by expense reduction, Village management forecasts a tax rate increase of approximately 10%. Primary factors exerting upward pressure on Village expenses, many of which are non-discretionary, include increased contributions for employees’ retirement, sharply higher healthcare premiums, anticipated raises for the Village’s union and non-union staff and a reduction in the use of General Fund surplus. Partially offsetting these significant increases is a continued reduction in headcount in the Department of Public Works, which is scheduled to be reduced by 2 employees in the upcoming fiscal year, in addition to a reduction of 2 in the current fiscal year. All headcount reductions, thus far, have been achieved through attrition.
The members of the Board of Trustees recognize that because budgets have been cut so significantly in recent years (resulting in an average annual tax rate increase of only 2.1%), residents will likely be faced with a choice between losing particular services and paying for those services through increased property taxes. In light of the challenging budget projections, those choices are expected to be more difficult than in the past. Over the next three months Village management will develop budget reduction proposals.
Village management will continue to refine the budget by meeting with department heads in order to provide a recommended budget to the Board of Trustees by early January 2011. The recommended budget will be reviewed at public budget workshops through the middle of March, at which time a tentative budget will be filed with the Village Clerk as required by New York State law. Public hearings will be held in April and, by May 1, 2011, the budget for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2012 must be adopted. The Board of Trustees encourages you to participate in the budget process by attending the budget workshops and presenting your ideas at public hearings. You are also encouraged to communicate with the Board through e-mail or mail. The earlier residents become involved the greater the impact they can have on the budget process.
Jon Siegel,Mayor,Village of Irvington