ELMSFORD, N.Y. – The Elmsford Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to override the state imposed 2 percent property tax levy cap.
Although the village has yet to put together a proposed 2013 budget and won't begin the budget process until April, officials stressed authorizing a local law to exceed the limit was not intended to enable the village to go on a spending spree.
"If we do it today it's not about the budget. It's a safety mechanism," Mayor Robert Williams said prior to the 3-0 vote. "In Elmsford we never raise taxes more than we have to. It's better to be safe than sorry."
The law passed by the state Legislature last year limits the annual growth of property taxes levied by local governments and school districts to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. However, tax caps for counties, cities, towns, villages and special districts can be overridden by a vote of at least 60 percent of the local governing bodies.
Elmsford Administrator/Clerk Michael Mills said as of Jan. 9, more than 77 municipalities or special districts in New York miscalculated budget calculations and were over the cap.
"Because this is new, it's a complicated calculation. If you're close, you could be wrong," Mills told Williams and Trustees William Zimkin and Syndey Henry. "If you override the cap, even if a mistake is made, you are covered."
Zimkin compared overriding the cap to an insurance policy.
"It doesn't cost us anything," he said. "This actually protects our residents more than anything else and we would be remiss not to do it."
Trustees Edward Rush and Michael Eannazzo were absent from Tuesday evening’s meeting.