Endorsement: Yes to Sleepy Hollow's reasonable third try for a tax increase

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 2/26/2016 10:20 AM
Story corrected Friday, Feb. 26, to note Mike Tennis' position with the village.

The proud and independent-minded people of Sleepy Hollow enjoy their community's country atmosphere and its small-town feel. That no-frills style of living seems to have extended to approving property tax increases, proposals that have been annihilated at the polls the past two years.

Admittedly the amounts sought by the village to provide basic services and do road repairs were significant: increases of more than 80 percent, or an additional $316 for the typical owner of a $200,000 home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

For the March 15 ballot, the village is back with a third tax-increase proposal, but this time the amount sought has been scaled back substantially. Voters are being asked to approve a 33 percent increase, or about $132 for that same typical homeowner. In the meantime, the village has made a number of good-faith spending cuts, scaling back lawn mowing of village property, finding a cheaper way to replace streetlight bulbs and bringing landscaping in house.

If the tax increase were approved, the additional revenue would go toward road improvements and the five-year capital fund, which is used for long-term expenses such as purchasing police vehicles and snowplows. Village President Stephan Pickett says that without a tax increase, that capital fund could be depleted within two to three years.

Also telling is that the new plan has won the support of Mike Tennis, a former trustee and village finance committee member who opposed the two earlier efforts. This time, he's on board, saying that a hard look at village finances showed a projected drop of $500,000 in reserves that would lead to a deficit of that amount, due to declining utility taxes, a decrease in state income taxes and a drop in sales taxes.

All told, the village is asking for $180,000, which it says should be sufficient for the next two years.

That seems reasonable to us, too. We recommend a "yes" vote.

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