TO THE EDITOR: The Cumberland Head Taxpayers Association analyzed the tentative 2013 Town of Plattsburgh budget to understand how our tax dollars will be spent.
The association found millions of prior-year surplus dollars; $6.5 million cash on hand at the end of 2011; padding for several unfilled positions, including a finance manager and positions in the Water/Sewer Department; and the proposed purchase of a camera truck for $140,000 to $170,000 when town officials are unable to estimate its usage and are unwilling to share the expense with other municipalities. Visit http://www.cumberlandheadta.org for additional findings.
Fewer homes have been sold in Clinton County in 2012 than in 2007, and those homes carry a lower price tag than in 2007 (www.City-data.com). The majority of properties sold in the Town of Plattsburgh in 2012 have been sold below their tax assessed value. A reduction in the number of homes sold and the value of homes sold indicates a weak economy.
Clinton County public schools have suffered a net loss of 1587 students (12.3 percent) since 2004-05 (www. reportcards.nysed.gov). The exodus of families/students is significant. They are future taxpayers, and their absence will adversely affect our ability to meet long-term financial obligations.
The unemployment rate in Clinton County is 10.5 percent. Clinton County is ranked in the top 11 percent of counties in the United States with the highest property taxes relative to assessed value (http://taxfoundation.org). The high unemployment rate, combined with high property taxes, have increased tax foreclosures in Clinton County, which have more than doubled since 2008.
Irresponsible town spending/budgeting coupled with a weak economy have pushed taxpayers to their breaking point.
Please join the association in asking the Town Council to freeze the 2013 budget at 2012 levels.
The budget public hearing will be held at 6:30 tonight at Plattsburgh Town Hall, Banker Road.