The Montgomery Town Board adopted the 2021 budget at its meeting Thursday night.
Highlights of the budget include a two percent decrease in taxes to the town wide fund, which includes the Villages of Walden, Maybrook and Montgomery as well as town residents who do not live in an incorporated village. It includes a 1.01 percent decrease in the town only fund, which includes only town residents, not those that live in villages. The adopted budget also includes a .20 percent tax decrease in the highway fund, which includes the same tax base as the B Fund, only those town residents who do not live within a village.
“In our adopted budget every town resident will receive a decrease in the amount of town taxes they paid from last year,” said Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher. “We approached this budget with a long-term plan in mind and as a team. The town board was brought into the process early in the year and were each assigned departments to specialize on. We spent hours working with department heads, town consultants and other employees looking at every expense and revenue line to see how we could maximize every single taxpayer dollar. In the end I believe we delivered a responsible budget to the people of the Town of Montgomery and put less of a burden on the A Fund which includes residents that live in the Villages of Maybrook, Walden and Montgomery.”
In order to get to a responsible tax decrease, five full-time positions were eliminated from this budget and major cost saving measures were realized in several departments.
Major differences between the preliminary and adopted budget included the addition of a part-time position in the justice department. In addition, $24,000 was added to the research and grant line. The town board is looking to hire an outside firm to help them to research what grants are available.
The board also added one more full-time position in the Town of Montgomery Police Department.
“There was an absolute need for this one more full-time position to ensure that we have better coverage in our town,” said Town of Montgomery Councilwoman Kristen Brown.
She added that Officer-in-charge Stephen Ragni did a more accurate reflection of what the department actually needs, so there was a decrease in the police department line. There was $2,638,651.52 in the original 2020 budget and $2,570,000.00 in the 2021 preliminary budget.
In addition, on Thursday the board set a public hearing on Local Law No. 5 of 2020, which would end council health benefits and adjust salaries. The hearing will take place Thursday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. This hearing will be live-streamed on the town’s Facebook page, as positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Orange County.