Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

October 26, 2013

Town candidates oppose tax-cap override

PLATTSBURGH — Three of the four Plattsburgh Town Council candidates are opposed to overriding the 2 percent property-tax-levy cap.

Michael Cashman (D, WF), Thomas Metz (R) and Bill Brudvig (R) made that clear at a Meet the Candidates Forum hosted by the Cumberland Head Taxpayers Association. Incumbent Paul Lamoy (Democratic, Working Families) didn’t participate.

About 40 members of the public attended the meeting at the Cumberland Head Fire Station on Thursday night. 

Metz said he believes the town could stay under the cap by cutting expenses and finding or increasing sources of revenue. He said his study of the budget has found a way to create a $1.6 million surplus in the general fund without raising taxes.

“The tax-cap override, in my numerical consideration, is not necessary, and it is wrong,” Metz said.

OPPOSE EXCEEDING CAP

Brudvig said he’s completely against the move. He said Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett started to call for a self-sufficient highway fund as far back as July 8, but no one on the council appears to have asked to find another way to do that. 

The tentative budget calls for a $1.5 million increase in the highway fund tax levy, Brudvig said, yet the budget low balls Clinton County’s estimate of sales-tax revenue by $360,000.

That early version of the spending plan for next year shifts away from the use of sales-tax funds for the highway fund, which translates to a levy increase of about 198 percent.

Cashman said he is opposed to exceeding the tax cap and to the increase in the highway fund.

He said the town should explore ways to cut expenses by looking for what he called “low-hanging fruit,” such as getting sponsors for items such as the Welcome to Plattsburgh signs.

PERSONNEL CUTS

The candidates were asked where they think cuts in personnel should happen if layoffs were needed to get under the tax cap.

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