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Buchanan Passes 2.75 Percent Tax Rate Increase

BUCHANAN, N.Y. - The Village of Buchanan Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget Tuesday evening, which increases the village property tax rate by 2.75 percent.

The $8,242,430 total budget will increase the village tax rate by $6.01, to $224.95 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the average home in Buchanan, assessed at $4,500 by the village, the annual tax bill would be $1,012.28.

“We went through each line and cut from quite a few of the lines,” said Village Administrator Kevin Hay. “They took out the prosecutor, that was $24,000. That was a significant cut, there’s no large equipment purchases in this year’s budget,” he said, referring to the members of the village board.

The total tax levy, the portion of the budget to be funded through real property taxes, is $1,715,740, increasing the levy by 3.24 percent. The board passed a resolution several months ago, allowing it to override the New York state 2 percent tax levy cap. The village will still receive a nearly $2 million payment annually from a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement with Entergy.

Some savings were found by leaving staff positions vacant, the board also brought the tax rate increase down from the originally estimated 6.47 percent by increasing estimated revenue from the Westchester County sales tax.

The board filled a vacant position for a sixth full-time police officer in the Buchanan Police Department. Thomas Cobelli, formerly of the New Castle Police Department, was appointed at Monday evening’s village board meeting. His salary will start at $83,572.

The board also funded an “explorer program” for the Buchanan Engine Company. The program was funded at $10,000, department members say it will allow them to develop a curriculum for teenagers interested in volunteering, who are now too young to become full-fledged members of the department. Department members said these teenagers are currently being lost to neighboring departments despite being village residents, because other departments have “explorer programs.”

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