Schenectady County

Glenville hearing on tax-cap increase draws residents’ angry comments

Residents loudly criticized Glenville officials for even considering going over the tax cap in a som

Residents loudly criticized Glenville officials for even considering going over the tax cap in a sometimes angry discussion that included Supervisor Chris Koetzle drawing graphs on a whiteboard.

“I don’t think you guys give a damn one bit about the people — plain and simple,” said resident Ron Bortell. “I’m really fed up with politicians and that’s what you guys all are — scum bag politicians.”

Bortell added later he probably shouldn’t have used those words but said the Town Board was looking for an out instead of controlling spending.

He was among the dozen speakers during a public hearing on a local law to consider exceeding the tax cap. Town officials said they do not plan to exceed the cap but needed the flexibility to go beyond the limit if needed.

While the total levy would rise about 3.2 percent under Koetzle’s tentative $18.2 million spending plan, it complies with the 2 percent limit because the law allows municipalities to exclude pension costs from the cap. If this budget were adopted, a homeowner with an average assessment of $173,000 would pay about $571 in town property taxes.

Resident Kara Panetta said she was disgusted that the board would even consider breaking the cap. Taxes are high enough as it is.

“You’re breaking us. You’re robbing from us. We have nothing else to give you.”

Following the public comments, Deputy Supervisor Alan Boulant took the unusual step of leaving his seat to speak at the lectern to defend the board.

Boulant said he pays almost $5,500 in total taxes on his house. Of that only 12 percent is the town tax base, which comes up to about $458 for him. He then criticized the high salaries of state and federal elected officials.

Pulling the whiteboard to the front of the room, Koetzle outlined his efforts to reduce spending including a six-month hiring freeze, which will save $150,000. He is cutting the highway budget by $76,000, and taking $12,000 from community programs and $10,000 from overtime.

Koetzle criticized state laws and mandates like the Triborough Amendment, which keeps contract terms for public employees intact until new ones are negotiated. “They don’t have to cut a deal and they’ll stay exactly where they are,” he said.

The town has virtually no control over pension contribution rates, which are set by the state.

He also criticized past boards for using the town’s surplus to avoid tax increases.

The board took no action on the local law to override the tax cap.

A public hearing on the budget will be held Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and it is expected to be adopted at the Nov. 9 meeting.

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