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Peekskill Council Trims 2013 Tax Hike To 3.8 Percent

Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster discusses the revised 2013 budget at Monday's Common Council meeting.
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster discusses the revised 2013 budget at Monday's Common Council meeting. Video Credit: The Peekskill Daily Voice
Mayor Mary Foster presents the updated Peekskill 2013 budget at Monday's Common Council meeting. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Peekskill officials have reduced the 2013 property tax increase to 3.82 percent, meaning an increase of about $73 per year for the average city homeowner.

Mayor Mary Foster gave a presentation of the updated budget, which contained several changes from acting City Manager Brian Havranek’s proposed budget , at Monday’s Common Council meeting.

“We’re staying within the tax cap and we’ve reduced the tax increase from the 6 percent that had been proposed to 3.8 percent, so we got close to cutting it in half but still be prudent,” Foster said at the meeting.

The $35 million budget reduces spending 2 percent from the city manager’s budget presented last month, and restores several positions, including two full-time positions at the Kiley Youth Center. It also restores the city’s preschool and recreational program, which were slated to be cut, by creating fees to help cover costs.

The total number of positions to be cut has dropped from 24 to 18, with many of the cuts coming from managerial and white-collar jobs. No city Police or Fire Department positions are being cut, because of union negotiations.

The spending cuts came mostly from the merger of the payroll, personal finance and cash collection functions, as well as early retirement of staff, Foster said.

“Eleven individuals took retirement, and nine of those retirees won’t be replaced,” Foster said. “And that helped us reduce the layoffs we were faced with.”

The Common Council is scheduled to vote to adopt the budget at a special meeting at 7 p.m Thursday.

The budget presentation was followed by a lengthy and heated public hearing. Check back Thursday for more on that story.

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