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Letter: Villages Should Adhere to the 2 Percent Tax Cap

(Editor’s note: at the Jan. 26 Village of Manorhaven board meeting that is referenced in this letter, a public hearing was held to consider the adoption of Introductory Local Law A – 2012, “Tax Cap Override”).

On Jan. 26, I attended the Village of Manorhaven Board of Trustees meeting to express my concern about a proposed local law that would permit the village to exceed the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap for this year’s budget. Following is a summary of my comments made to the board.

I understand what the board is trying to accomplish with this local law. I recognize the village budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1 has not been formulated yet and that it won’t be adopted for several months. I know some budget costs are unpredictable and even volatile.

However, I do not agree with this local law.

Last year, our state representatives and the governor finally did something to try to control local property taxes – and it was the so-called “Tax Cap.” This new law requires that municipalities such as our village limit any increase in the property tax to 2 percent per year – not 2 percent forever or 2 percent just one time – but 2 percent for each year.

This seems to me to be fair, reasonable and practical.

If the village passes a local law that says, right off the bat, you don’t have to live within the 2 percent rule, then that’s just an invitation go above the state-mandated limit. I do not think it’s a good idea to go beyond the law in its very first year of existence. I am asking the board to give the 2 percent tax cap a chance. Please see if you can make the numbers work for this year’s budget and stay under the 2 percent. At the very least, you should try to follow the spirit of this new law.

Hard-working taxpayers deserve every break you can possibly give us. Respectfully, I urge you not to pass this local law at this time.

Jim Avena