Town of Saugerties must con­trol spend­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

Dear Ed­i­tor: There’s an old say­ing that de­scribes my prob­lem with this year’s tax cap-pierc­ing bud­get in the town of Saugerties: “in­tegrity is do­ing the right thing even when no one’s look­ing.”

It was as­sumed that be­cause peo­ple weren’t com­plain­ing, the Town Board was ab­solved from re­duc­ing spend­ing. It’s not that peo­ple don’t care — they’re stressed out work­ing mul­ti­ple jobs to pay their bills, and they don’t have the time to com­pre­hend a 175-page bud­get.

I’ve heard the in­crease “isn’t a big deal” be­cause most will pay just “a lit­tle more” in taxes, but these in­creases add up over time. My prop­erty taxes for Town Board-con­trolled spend­ing will have in­creased by about $400 over the past decade, with an av­er­age an­nual in­crease higher than the rate of in­fla­tion, higher than the growth in salaries and higher than the growth in lo­cal prop­erty val­ues.

Given the amount of prop­erty taxes we all pay, we’re at the point where ev­ery in­crease hurts.

I fol­low the board closely and have been crit­i­cal of its spend­ing de­ci­sions (www.sauger­ties­goo­goo.blogspot.com). Ex­cuse af­ter ex­cuse is of­fered to ex­plain away in­crease af­ter in­crease.

Saugerties is at a cross­roads. Town spend­ing can’t con­tinue at its cur­rent pace with­out adding even more to our al­ready crush­ing prop­erty tax bur­den. The sta­tus quo is un­ac­cept­able. We need lead­ers will­ing to think dif­fer­ently.

I urge the board to seek a grant to ex­am­ine re­struc­tur­ing our town govern­ment to make it cheaper and more ef­fi­cient while pro­tect­ing vi­tal ser­vices.

Saugerties is a won­der­ful com­mu­nity, but with­out se­ri­ous change, our fu­ture is at risk.

Joe Roberti Jr., Saugerties

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