A Closer Look at the Mendon Tax Rate Reduction
November 2, 2017
Recently, the Town Supervisor and Board members issued a press release saying that the proposed 2018 budget calls for a property tax rate reduction for the Town of Mendon and Village of Honeoye Falls.
The Mendon Democrats and our candidates, Terry Daniele and Erin Kehaley-Corr, support these tax breaks. Our tax burden has been high and residents can use some relief. However, our experience with and analysis of Town budgets warrants a closer look at the details.
The news is unfortunately timed. The tax rate reduction news was released less than two weeks BEFORE the Town Board election, clearly naming the members up for re-election, but the budget hearing was scheduled AFTER the election. That means two things: 1) questions like those we pose below could not be addressed prior to the election and 2) the current board cannot be held accountable for promises made before the election. It also means the community should not use this as a decision factor in their votes.
We think residents have a right to know:
- This tax rate reduction occurs simultaneously with a proposed budget INCREASE of 8%. (http://townofmendon.org/diyFi
les/2018_Prelim_Budget.pdf). What factors led to this increase?
- The 2018 proposed budget shows a $32 million increase in property assessments (http://townofmendon.org/diyFi
les/2018_Prelim_Budget.pdf), which means the overall tax burden has increased for the Town.
- A lower tax rate does not necessarily mean residents will end up with a lower tax bill, especially in a year when a new Town-wide property assessment takes place. Residents should compare this year’s tax bill to next year’s to see how their actual tax burden has changed.
- Is this tax rate decrease sustainable? What, if anything, has been compromised in the proposed budget to make room for the tax breaks?
- Lastly, why has the existing Board continually approved large salary increases for the Town Supervisor and Town Assessor? The Supervisor’s pay will have risen from $57,667 in 2015 to a proposed $69,397 in 2018 — a 20% increase, if approved. The assessor would see a more than 16% pay increase during the same time period if approved. (source: Mendon Town website). The federal cost-of-living adjustment (sources: https://www.ssa.gov/news/cola/
) over the same time period (2015 – 2018) was roughly 4%. What is the justification for these higher-than-cost-of-living increases?
While we certainly appreciate the Town Board proposing this tax rate reduction, we believe Mendon’s voters should have been included in the process. This would require greater disclosure of the terms and conditions of the entire budget, so that the numbers and reasonings behind the budget are transparent. Having a one-party Town Board leaves little room for cooperation and for fulfilling the obligations the Town has to the entire community.
The Mendon Democrats are committed to securing the future of Mendon while being transparent in the decisions that lead us there.
If our candidates, Terry Daniele and Erin Kehaley-Corr, are elected, a main priority will be to create an open dialogue for citizens to voice their opinions and get their questions answered. We will listen, cooperate, strengthen, and protect Mendon, in partnership with the board members as we work for the entire community.
Support Mendon. Vote for TERRY DANIELE and ERIN KEHALEY-CORR on November 7th.