The Rotterdam tentative 2022 budget proposes raising taxes for residential property owners 2.1%, while taxes for commercial property owners will rise 27.4%.
Residential property taxes are proposed to go to $3.92 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $3.84 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2021. Non-homestead or commercial properties are proposed to go to $8.98 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2022, up from $7.05 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2021.
The proposed budget of nearly $26.1 million would be a 0.42% increase from the adopted 2021 budget. No numbers for property tax revenue were provided in the tentative budget.
The budget does show the town is proposing a $60,000 salary increase for the town engineer, to $100,000 in 2022 from $40,000 in 2021. The town has also budgeted $150,000 in 2022 for an engineering consultant, up from $75,000 in 2021. Under revenues the town had proposed generating $700,000 in 2022 from the sale of property. It did not have any revenue under the same budget line for 2021 or 2020.
The town would not respond to questions regarding funding in the tentative budget.
Residents will also have to wait until Wednesday to hear a presentation on the budget, eight days after town law requires a town to present the budget.
“The tentative budget has been electronically circulated to the Town Board and made available to the public,” town officials said in an emailed statement. “This is the first step in the budget process and is too early to know what changes will be adopted in the final budget. It was a tough fiscal year for Rotterdam, like most communities, and the Town Board is working hard towards a responsible budget that protects and maintains services.”
The budget also wasn’t made available to the public until Oct. 6 after at least one resident and The Daily Gazette verbally requested copies of it. Under New York State Town Law towns are required to file the budget with the clerk on Sept. 30.
Rotterdam Town Clerk Diane Marco told The Gazette she was not allowed to release the document to the public after it had been provided to her on Sept. 30.
“I was given the budget on Sept 30 by an employee from the Director of Finance office,” Marco said in an emailed statement. “When I stated that you had called and wanted it I asked that employee can I release it and she was told by the Supervisor I cannot.”
The Gazette was told to call the supervisor regarding the budget. He did not answer and did not return the call.
Resident Robert Godlewski, a former board member, said he also asked Marco for the document and was told he needed to call the supervisor.
This is the first time the clerk was instructed not to release the budget in several years, breaking with town standards, Marco said.
Marco said the supervisor usually calls for a special meeting and she presents the budget. Under state Town Law the budget must be presented by the clerk at a regular or special town board meeting by Oct. 5.
She said Supervisor Steven Tommasone did not call for a meeting, so she posted the budget online and will now present it at the board’s Wednesday night meeting.