Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We estimate that there will be a 10% reduction in sales tax revenues that will impact the 2010 budget. The loss of revenues is estimated to be about $600,000. We also anticipate a one million dollar shortfall in mortgage tax revenues. The comptroller’s office has advised the town that there is a 50% increase in retirement contributions (confirmed with the NYS Retirement System). The impact to unincorporated Greenburgh residents is $1,222,000. There will be a 10% increase in medical premiums --$603,000.

I have directed all department heads to come up with cuts or revenue enhancements to offset these shortfalls


hal samis said...

Without making a house call, read this: eliminate the woman who is in budget terms: the Arts Council.
Good, now you've save taxpayers $60,000+. Bad is still playing the game by cutting the Arts Council budget by 10%. Now you've saved $6,000+ but still cost taxpayers almost $55,000. Let her loss be Ossining's but the gain be Greenburgh's.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers are now contributing 7.5 percent of the payroll costs to the fund for most workers, and about 16 percent for police and firefighters, whose pensions are more lucrative than those of other public servants. Contributions from workers and profits from the investments pick up the rest of the tab.DiNapoli said a "ballpark" figure of the higher rate in 2011 is 11 percent for most workers. He'll announce the final figure in September. A similar increase for police and firefighters would drive up the cost to taxpayers to more than 23 percent of what those workers' salaries are.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's finally time for town leaders to come clean with taxpayers about the town's long-simmering financial problems, for which town leaders -- not the recession -- deserve much of the blame (millions of dollars for duplicate separate recreation dep'ts, duplicate separate recreation commissioners, hundreds of thousands of dollars for gifts to the Fairview Fire District and the controversial Xposure program, tens of thousands of dollars for "energy consultants," art hangers, etc., and quit wasting time blaming the county, and now, the fire districts.

Anonymous said...

Feiner pledged back in June - it's on tape - that next year's coming tax hike will be less than this year's 8% and obviously less than the 21% before that. But Feiner's told the Citizens Budget Committee that they are not allowed to make any projections of what next year's hike will look like based on current data -- the very data that Feiner is touting as bad news for the 2010 budget. Is that because the public would soon see, while there's still time to elect others, that the town's finances are in a shambles and that, without substantial cuts in town services, taxpayers will have to pay another whopping double digit increase?

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a town government that was truly candid with the public?

Anonymous said...

None of this should surprise anyone. The former Comptroller gave the Town Board and the public data back in December 2008 that showed a double digit tax increase for 2010 and that was before some of this new "bad" news. Even in early March he told the ECC about the problems with the mortgage tax revenues and sales tax revenues (see The Scarsdale Inquirer.

Good luck unincorporated Greenburgh. Reelect Feiner, Sheehan and Juettner and hello another "October 30th surprise".

Paul Feiner said...

The tax increase for 2010 will not be a double digit increase and will be less than the increase last year. Cuts will be made.

Anonymous said...

Close and sell the TDYCC that should solve all the shortfalls. The community center is draining the taxpayers

Anonymous said...

Close the TDYCC and watch crime go up. Being proactive with our kids is important. Provide our children with a safe place to have fun and to learn.

hal samis said...

Dear Taxpayers,

The Town Board was warned time and time again, starting two years ago, of what was coming. The Fund Balance should have remained intact for the rainy days, excuse me for a sec while I open my umbrella, that have finally arrived. Instead, still hoping that the "rain rain stay away, come again another day" video would hold, the Town Board dipped and redipped into the Fund Balance to make this year's election year increase "tolerable". How much remains and how much will be used to keep the incumbents in office is anybody's guess. But let me assure you that the Comptroller produced preliminary forecast shows an increase as high as over 17.5% for unincorporated. Don't believe me? Ask the new Town Comptroller. He put the numbers together.

Is there anything you want to show us, Mr. Feiner? Now's a good time to turn over all the cards and play the by the same rules which bind the dealer in casino style blackjack.

Because, your fixed income Senior Citizen mainstays have been dying off from old age; now with Social Security payments flat and taxes rising, those remaining may give up the ghost to starvation. But at least they'll have gone out knowing their sidewalks were shoveled.

Lights, camera, cue scanner, ready to show all of Bart's five scenarios? On the count 5 - 4 - 3 -2...roll tape.

Oh by the way, you could but I don't think you really have to tour Greenburgh this summer to find out what Residents are thinking: they don't want to see another large tax increase.

While some skeptics even suggest you are using these neighborhood and home visits as a cover to conduct a re-election campaign with your team. Imagine that!

As for me, I know you don't have a clue as to what bothers residents. What bothers me is that in Bart's fantasy world, there isn't any mention of a aging like wine Court ordered settlemnt while the $1 million dream from OSI permits is plastered all over. In your dreams.

"But who would give me a million dollars" ask this week's lucky recipients of the largesse of an anonymous donor.

Oh, have you told them about LEEDs yet?

Anonymous said...

Stop getting grants that you have to match. Keep the Library closed on Sundays all round. Get all the monies that are owed to you from outside sources. Your Police Dept. is draining you. Fix the problem. Since no one got a raise for 2009 except the Police (4.1%), what are you going to give next year?

Anonymous said...

Close the TDYCC and watch crime go up. Being proactive with our kids is important. Provide our children with a safe place to have fun and to learn.

Waste of money! I'd rather see the money go towards programs for the parents in Fairview to teach them how to raise responsible children.

Had enough in Hartsdale said...

oy. Just received my increased tax escrow from my mortgage company.....AGAIN!

I just can't keep up anymore. I can't find one single reason to stay. There is nothing in Hartsdale for my family that makes struggling to pay these taxes sensible.

hal samis said...

Is it possible that there are two Greenburghs and that the Supervisor posts first to one and then on another topic he posts to the second.

If so, he surely most regard the taxpayers of both Greenburghs with contempt because he doesn't even care that the conflicted reality he presents is seen by taxpayers.

He has just posted his gblist email regarding replacing playground equipment at Webb field.
A decidely low priority item in times of increasting taxes. But what does he care; he is running for all intents, unopposed.

It's his attitude that he can still get away with juggling the books and playing with resident's minds that is getting exceedingly tiresome.

Here is what I just posted on the Webb Field topic. See how it fits in with the concerned Supervisor portrayed here in "2010 Budget, impact from the economy".

hal samis said...
Now I'm not pretending to be an expert in this area but with the existence of a Parkland fund which you want to tap for replacing an existing playground seems to denote that the fund need not be used exclusively for acquistion of new parkland but can be used for a variety of purposes -- which is fine.

And I'm not against the idea of replacing tired and worn out playground equipment but I am against the inference that you draw that because it does not meet current standards it HAS to be replaced.

Mostly I am against the idea that spending this money (a shameless ploy meant to appeal to parents in an election year) that this is "free money" and despite your own dire news released on another topic, that this money won't have any impact on taxpayers.

Because what you don't say is that this money could be used toward Park infrastructure projects that must be incurred with the next few years. Projects that you and the Town Board are well aware of and have even discussed publicly; projects like the reconstruction of the Town Pool and work needed on the Tennis Courts in lieu of a contract with an operator.

These will cost taxpayers big bucks and using the $120,000 to reduce that expense would be the mark of a Town Supervisor who has his eye on what's best for the Town, not what's best for a re-election campaign.

But if $120,000 just has to be spent, then it could also be used at Taxter Ridge, a park that taxpayers are still paying for in their tax increases -- and can't use.

But somehow the gimmick of using kids as props is a page torn from the Ray Thomas enrichment handbook so naturally it appeals to you.

Finally, I wonder if you're going to ask those kids who are White Plains residents, not just post office, who are entitled to use the Presser because of federal grant money -- what they want.

7/30/2009 10:46 AM

Feiner's fuzzy math said...

How does the Town get a projected 17.5% tax hike next year for unincorporated Greenburgh down to Feiner's goal of 7.6%?

Step 1 -- Draw down the same amount of fund balance the town drew down this year -- that's $3.6 million from the A fund and $661,000 from the B fund. (Very risky if the town ever wants to borrow money again at low rates).

Step 2 -- Assume the Town will collect $1 million in building permit fees from the new biomed complex proposed for Saw Mill River Road. (Very doubtful).

Step 3 -- No more $500,000 in reserves for tax cert claims. Pay the money instead out of the Town's dwindling fund balance. (Extremely risky, see step 1).

Step 4 -- Either reduce town spending by $1 million, or increase user fees by $1 million, or a combination of both. (Here, the Town can't seem to cut non-essentials; expect instead more cuts to police and sanitation).

These steps may lead to a 7.6% tax hike for next year, but they will leave the Town in a disastrous shape financially for years to come.

fun with numbers. said...

I have directed all department heads to come up with cuts or revenue enhancements to offset these shortfalls

Here we go again....

Budget cuts: Projecting 2010 budgets based off of 2009 projected , overinflated budgets NOT actual expenditures. Paul will be quick to show you how much was cut when in fact, in many cases the actual expenditures are higher each year. The saving games is with projected budgets that and have nothing to do with reality.

Another fun game. Excess projected budgets get fund transfers into other budget lines of departments Paul delightfully proclaimed, CUT! The only real cuts made have been in our services. You can be sure of that.

Revenue enhancements: LOL. Gotta love this one. This act includes raising fees like TDYCC camp yet declaring that camp will be free of charge to those who feel they can't afford to pay. It includes enforcing non-residents to actually pay fees at TDYCC!
It also includes making people like GHA actually PAY their bill. Well, at least some of their bill.
It included doubling the fees for some camp programs at Parks & Rec where those silly folks might just cough up the extra dough.

Get more Lanza money! Surly this is a revenue enhancement everyone will like. YAY! Wait! We have to match dollar for dollar those Lanza enhancements? Ut oh, um, well,....HEY! It's still an enhancement, right!? The Xposure program is cheaper than the prior after school program, right? See? Revenue enhancements!


The only real revenue enhancement going on is by RAISING OUR TAXES.

To be fair, we did fire one full time janitor and made the remaining others clean harder.

Stay awake folks. Keep your eyes on that budget!

fun with numbers said...

correction: The *savings game* is with projected budgets that have nothing to do with reality.

Anonymous said...

I still say close the TDYCC and sell it to some organization like the YMCA that will still run programs for the kids to keep them off the streets. That way the town saves hundreds of thousands of dollars and all the freebies will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Let's close TDYCC take the 4 million dollar budget, keep 1 million and incorporate programs at Parks & Rec and save 3 million dollars.

4 million dollars represent $5,943 per household with children in Fairview.

This is an astounding amount of money.

I think it's time to demand that the town prove that spending 6K per year, per family of tax payers money has it merits.

hal samis said...

Dear Fuzzy math,

from "Carousel"
what's the use of wondering if he's good or if he's bad, he's your fella and you love hime, that's all there is to that.

I don't love the Town Supervisor and I know he's bad. Problem is there are too many who love him and are willing to pay to allow him to continue putting on his dog and pony show. After all, he's got a "heart as big as all outdoors".

It can't happen here because Money Magazine has as much told you so.
And you'll note that Camelot didn't even make their list.

What we have seated alongside Feiner is a Town Council that together as the Town Board refuses to acknowledge that the price to join the dance band on the Titanic keeps getting bigger.

Remember when we used to have a Fund Balance Policy before it was converted to a budget balancing bank. Now what we have is a bank continuing to extend credit to a near-bankrupt borrower while the bank isn't eligible for TARP credits. This year is the end of the line and the Town will be hard-pressed to keep its all its dominos right side up against multi-faceted challenges that threaten each and every one of its stretched to the breaking point thresholds.

So while "we've had a real fine clambake, we've had a real fine time..." the muck has been clammed out. And there's no new money coming in to replenish the funds; instead it's all going out.

But as unemployment marches to new highs, the only thing that the Town Board can agree upon is this:
if we don't reduce taxes, we'll be joining the unemployed ranks.

It doesn't matter about when the piper comes calling save that it only matters that he doesn't come before the September primary.

In Greenburgh, they serve the dessert before the main course is even ordered.

hal samis said...

On the map, is Greenburgh located to the left of Neverneverland?

Did anyone get the impression from the Supervisor's comments introducing this topic that things are going to be tough next year for Greenburgh? Well, since 2010 doesn't start until January 1 that means it is ok to party like the tax increases these last two years don't mean anything. Certainly not to the Town Board.
What are they hearing when they make their visits to the neighborhoods?

Maybe someone reading this blog can explain to me why on the Agenda for Tuesday's Town Board meeting is this item: to execute a contract with Sarah Bracey White (the Arts Council dame) to pay her $49,000 to year end? Of course on the Agenda are the usual passel of cert settlements which confirm that there will be less money coming in to the Town.
If I paid taxes in this Town I'd be sure to come to the Town Board meeting if only to yell boo.
But maybe the Supervisor will answer this question right here on his blog.
Because he cares.

Anonymous said...

Hal: Do you think that the pensions of firefighters should be based on one year of service? Have you seen their salaries? Are you going to sit back or say something? You're a fighter and enjoy exposing government waste.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Mr. Samis' position, but it may be okay to base the pension on the last year's salary, JUST EXCLUDE ALL THE OVERTIME.

Anonymous said...

Make them and the cops work until 55 in order to retire and get their pensions. What a waste how the process is at present.

ed krauss said...

Now that the Fund Balance is nearly exhaused, due to the "prudent fiscal management" of Feiner and to varying degrees-based on years in office of his "board," what kindof "creative fiscal gimmickry" will be needed to "reduce a real double digit tax increase," to an illusary single digit for the unincorporatd area?

I won't mention what can be done for fear of giving them even one new untoward idea.

However, I do propose putting together a committee of fiscal experts and budget analysts TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF TOWN HALL AND ITS OCTOPIE.

The only connection to town governmen would be they will have permission from the powers that be to review the budget AND how each line item was arrived at.

What is needed is an "honest deal" totally unrelated to the "political election year budget" of pseudo single digit, "illusory"increases, vs the "real world" ACTUAL GIMMICK-FREE" tax increases.

All of this work should be finalized prior to the November election so tax payer/voters can make up their mind based of TRUTH and not POLITICOSPEAK.

If Mr."Open Government" Feiner has nothing to hide, he will permit this committee to, in REAL TIME, analyze the budget.

All of you out there, for or gainst Feiner, must agree this is a benefit ALL tax payer in this ton deserve. And, it's APOLITICAL,
so what the negative/

hal samis said...

I STRONGLY agree that ALL pensions should be based upon ONLY SALARY and not upon salary plus overtime.

Anonymous said...

Ed: The town has a citizens budget committee and that committee is working independently on budget analysis.

ed krauss said...

Dear Mr. Saturday Night;

Last year we also had an "independent" citizens' budget review committee. It didn't work then, and it won't work now.

The members have to be toally devoid of town government-Paul Feiner.

They're should not only be there to come up with "ideas," but to review and analyze the budget arrived at by the "government."

And they should have no restrictions regarding going to the press with their findings.

This committee, I'm advocating for, should not be for SHOW as most if not all Feiner "committees" have been during his tenure. One way or another, he "managed" to stack the deck.

It is vital that this budget is one that is gimmick-free. I'm not Chicken Little, but we are on the precipice of financial disaster in Greenburgh. No, we won't go Chapter 11 (or any other Chapter) but we will definitely be mortgaging our future,reducing the value of one of our biggest investments,make it virtually impossible for many seniors and not so senior to live in this town and solely for the purpose of returning Paul, Fran and Di to office.

The ONLY budget committee I would trust is one put together independently, and with ZERO connections to Town Hall-nee: Paul Feiner et al.

GIMMICKS-R-US, INC. has to be eliminated from the budget process. We had a good man as our comptroller, but he was "killed-by-candor." We still need his kind of analytical acumen as contrasted from a politcal mindset.

Yes we have a committee, but the "strings" are not hidden well.If he can't be beaten, the least we can do is get an honest deal on our budget.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ed, your buddy was a good man but did't the Town use fund balance and "budget gimmickery" last year, when he was there, to get a single digit tax rate increase?

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Anonymous 8/2/09 2:30 PM:

Not on my recommendation. Quite the opposite.

ed krauss said...

Dear 8/2 2:30PM

Your comments reinforce what I'm looking to avoid. Yes Mike was there. Yes he did not agree with how the budget was put together. Yes he made his case to the board.

No they didn't listen.AND NO he couldn't do a damned thing about it.

What good is it when you havea pro, with a track record and for political reasons and for political reasons only, five amateurs put a gimmick ridden budget together AND pass it.

It's like going to the doctor, being told you have a near fatal disease and tellng him, "no I don't." because it won't help to get you a job.

So, maybe, as I've proposed in the past, the comptroller should b an elected position so he's not beholding to the board, and only to the electorate.

Which member of the Greenburgh board would you trust with putting a household budget together for you?

NONE is the only sane answer.