This letter was published in this week's issue of the Gazette
To the Editor:
Do you know that Leo Wiegman and Ann Gallelli voted in favor of a whopping 9.43% tax rate increase that I opposed while I was Mayor of Croton? Of course you don’t, because the Wiegman Dems are being deeply disingenuous when they make misleading statements about my proven record of lowering tax rate increases. They average the rate increases and knowingly neglect to mention that they voted in favor of 75% of them.
Here are the facts:
- Tax rate increases steadily declined during my four years as mayor. My budget proposal when I left office projected an increase of under 2%.
- I inherited my first budget from Democratic Mayor Bob Elliott, who left office with a proposed increase of nearly 12.5%. With only a few weeks to go before the budget had to be approved we cut it as much as we could and very reluctantly passed a budget with an increase of 9.91%. Leo Wiegman voted against this budget not because the tax rate increase was too large, but because it was too small. He wanted some of the cuts we made reinstated.
- The budget with the second largest increase (9.43%) was passed by a 3-2 vote by the Dems, with Leo Wiegman and Ann Gallelli both voting in favor. I voted against this huge increase but that year the Dems had a majority on the board.
- The Dems, including Trustee Gallelli, supported the last two budgets proposed during my administration, and they were passed unanimously, lowering the rate of increase to under 7% and then to under 4%.
- The preliminary budget prepared when I left office contained a tax rate increase of just 1.86%.
My record as mayor shows that I was successful each year at controlling tax increases while keeping borrowing in check, and did so prior to any legislative mandate imposed by a tax levy cap. Mine is a record of true fiscal sustainability.
By contrast, the Wiegman Dems brag about their tax record, but neglect to mention that during the Wiegman administration, they have also repeatedly imposed double-digit increases in the water rates, sewer rates and parking rates on village residents and have more than doubled the level of bonded debt owed by the village.
Croton United’s candidates—Bob Anderson, Ken Walsh and myself—will set spending priorities, critically assess proposed expenditures, and change the current policy of dependence on unsustainable levels of borrowing. For more information, please see here. I thank you for your support this November.