In January Mark Dzemske presented his proposed budget for the next fiscal year which reflected the continued savings from his cost reduction efforts which will realize an additional $30,000 reduction on a year over year basis off the current years already reduced expenditures.
By the end of the fiscal year ending March of 2018, Mr. Dzemske will have realized a cost reduction of over $200,000, which would then be going back to the Town Fund.
Mr. Dzemske felt strongly that the savings realized in his office ought to be returned to the taxpayers, so at our February meeting I asked if any of the board members would be willing to consider either lowering the levy or passing an abatement.
After receiving positive responses from some of the board members I requested out legal counsel to review both scenarios and identify if we could vote on one or the other at the March meeting.
In the intervening time between the February and the March meeting, it is was determined that a levy adjustment was not feasible but an abatement was, I requested that an abatement ordinance be added to the Agenda in March.
The discussion in last Thursdays meeting (March 9, 2017) started with a motion by Supervisor Jennings for an abatement in the amount of $75,000.
I stated that I believed that we should do better for the taxpayers given the amount of taxpayer dollars on the table and lead a discussion through the concerns which included addressing:
- Attorney’s fees as a result of election process
- Increased insurance costs in the town fund
- Miscellaneous unknown expenses
Following a 25-minute debate throughout which I addressed the Supervisor and Trustees’ concerns and reduced my amendment motion (in the spirit of compromise) from $170,000 down to $100,000, Trustee Ed Dvorak seconded a motion to pass an abatement ordinance in the amount of $100,000. After additional discussion, the motion passed by a vote of 5-0
As a result of some hard work by recently elected Nunda Assessor Mark Dzemske the Nunda Town Fund adjusted levy for 2017, inclusive of the levy reduction from December and the abatement passed on March 9th will be $150,000 less, which is approximately 15% lower than 2016.
While it is my hope that the next board will see fit to lower costs in the Supervisors office and ‘permanently’ reduce the levy next year, I’m grateful for the result that was achieved on March 9th.
The effort proves if nothing else that if elected officials are willing to make the tough decisions, costs and taxes can be reduced dramatically.