Click to Home
Irvington Connect

Go To Search
March 25, 2016

Two big topics for you today so I will get right to it…


The most important recurring item facing the Board of Trustees is the annual budget.  Last week, Clerk/Treasurer Brenda Jeselnik officially released the 2016-2017 Tentative Budget which is available on our website:

Overall, the budget will necessitate a tax increase of 1.42%, the lowest in six years, and we have once again stayed within the state tax levy cap.  As I have said many times in the past, my goal is to present budgets that are roughly in line with inflation and are sustainable.  I believe that we have achieved these goals once again. I am also happy to report that the proposed budget maintains the current level of services to residents while also maintaining and improving Village infrastructure, buildings and parks.  

While health care costs continue to soar, we saw a large decrease in retirement costs this year.    The largest unanticipated revenue last year was the $100,000+ we took in from film permits.  We decided to “rebate” a large portion of this to the taxpayers by appropriating it out of the fund balance to lower the overall tax rate.  So, to all of you that were inconvenienced during filming, hopefully the tax savings make it worth it.  

Some highlights from my budget letter from last Friday:

It has been 5 years since the NYS Tax Levy Cap legislation went into effect and this year’s cap of 0.12% is the lowest since its inception. Due to prudent budgeting in past years and strong operating results this year, the Village is again compliant with the tax cap which will qualify residents for a rebate under Property Tax Freeze Legislation.  This is achievable with the utilization of $95,858 (a little over half) of our prior year carryover levy since the Village has been below the cap every year.  

In aggregate, expenditures are up $278,982 (1.68%).  Of this, $61,418 is attributed to increased debt service payments, $144,207 in health insurance, $98,000 in escalating worker’s compensation insurance and $10,000 for increased Volunteer Fire Department Service Awards benefits.  Other increases include $30,000 for Recreation and Park operations, $7,000 for “Slow Down Irvington” initiatives, $4,300 for financial program upgrades, and $8,900 for general liability insurance increases.  

Offsetting these increased costs is an anticipated savings of $143,000 in NYS Retirement contributions, $52,500 in energy costs as a result of lower prices and the installation of LED street light fixtures, $70,000 due to lower certiorari settlements, and $10,000 savings in dental insurance premiums. 

A public budget hearing will be held Monday, April 4, 2016 at 7 p.m. in Village Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend.  Comments may also be submitted by letter addressed to Lawrence Schopfer, Village Administrator, 85 Main Street, Irvington, NY or by email to .

Greenburgh Reassessment

I have received many emails and phone calls about the Greenburgh reassessment, specifically about the potential dramatic tax increases many residents are facing.  I have been in contact with Supervisor Paul Feiner and shared the concerns of residents.  Supervisor Feiner is very aware of the issues and committed to doing whatever he can to mitigate the impacts.  He invited me to join an ad hoc “task force” to see what can be done. So far the most promising idea is to have Greenburgh pass a local law that would phase in the increases (and the reductions) over a five year period.  There is a meeting next Tuesday to discuss moving forward on this idea.  Additionally, we are arranging a meeting for residents with Supervisor Feiner and the Town Assessor for the week of April 4th.  They will answer questions about the process and explain how to grieve your assessment if you believe it is too high.  

The first thing to focus on is whether your property’s valuation is accurate.  If you believe it does not accurately reflect the market value of your home, you should you should call Tyler Technologies to set up an informal review meeting to discuss your property’s valuation.  These meetings are by appointment only.  You can call to arrange a meeting at (800) 273-8605 between 9am and 5pm.

Some important things to remember about the reassessment:

  1. It is dollar neutral: the amount of taxes collected by the county, town, village and school do not increase with the reassessment – only taxpayers’ “piece of the pie” changes.  
  2. The Village of Irvington does not have any official role in the reassessment.  Irvington turned over its assessing authority to Greenburgh in 2011.
  3. This is the first time a reassessment has been performed in Greenburgh in 60+ years.

Details of the entire reassessment process can be found at the Town of Greenburgh website:

While an obvious point, it is vitally important that this reassessment is as accurate as possible.  No matter how you look at it, a system that is based on 60+ year old data is not fair.  It’s not fair when a taxpayer bears more than their fair share just like it’s not fair when a taxpayer pays less.  Transitioning from an unfair, unreliable system over to one that is based on accurate and up-to-date information is paramount.  I plan to address how to best deal with this transition period with Supervisor Feiner.  But, going forward, I believe that this reassessment process will lead to tax certainty for our residents, where wild swings and unfair assessments are relics of the past.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Easter.  

Brian C. Smith