The ability to override the 2 percent tax-cap levy was exercised by the Eden Town Board on Wednesday following a public hearing.
After resident Eugene Winter questioned why the board decided to override the levy, board members explained that this is a fall-back option in the event they need to raise taxes by more than 2 percent.
“It’s just a matter of practicality,” Councilman Edward Krycia Jr. said, adding that the board does not like having to do it. “Nobody really likes it.”
“Situations arise when where you have to pay certain bills,” Krycia said.
As a result, this can lead to towns having to raise the tax levy. “It’s as simple as that,” Krycia said.
Councilwoman Mary Lou Pew, serving in her role as deputy supervisor with Eden Supervisor Glenn Nellis on vacation, said the town is trying to avoid having to dip into its reserves and risk depleting them. Passing the local law to override the tax-cap levy is a wiser option for the town, Pew said.
“We never want to,” Pew said. “We do have money in our savings.”
Councilman Richard Ventry noted it is recommended that towns have a certain amount of money in reserves, with the percentage based on the amount of the budget.
“We are within the recommended percentage,” Ventry said.
Krycia added that this move is not only legal, it is recommended that they do it in the event an emergency situation arises, such as when the Schoolview Road waterline had to be replaced earlier this year.
Following the public hearing, the board approved the action prior to unveiling its 2014 preliminary budget.
The proposed $3.7 million spending plan calls for a tax increase of 2.34 percent, under which taxpayers would pay $2.18 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.