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Letter from the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party

letter-to-the-editorThis letter was submitted by representatives from the Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party
The Scarsdale Citizens' Non-Partisan Party is pleased to confirm that in accordance with the standards expected of candidates for office, Dan Hochvert, Carl L. Finger, Matthew J. Callaghan, and Seth Ross attended the 2017-2018 Village Budget Meeting on Wednesday February 1st 2017. The meeting began at 10:30 am and concluded around 9:45 pm. (This meeting is not televised, so in-person attendance is the only way to participate.) Carl Finger and Matt Callaghan attended in their capacity as existing Trustees.

As a result of their participation, these candidates better understand the reasoning behind the financial support the department heads requested for fulfillment of services upon which the residents rely.

As the Campaign Committee Chair, I asked our them to comment on why they feel attendance at this pubic hearing is important. Here is what they said...

Why is attendance important?

Presentations by various department heads and village staff on their budgets were heard and discussed and questions answered. Each presentation reflected and included a discussion of priorities of staff and provides an opportunity for the Board and public to question those priorities, add it's own opinion on priorities and issues, influence the budget that is ultimately considered. The budget reflects not only present expenses but actually determines the priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, and beyond, for various policy initiatives that will require an expenditure of funds. Thus the budget is not only an income and expense analysis but also a policy prioritization discussion.

What are some key issues that came up that might be good to discuss with residents?

- The overall budget results in the anticipated tax burden facing the residents in 2017-2018. While much of the budget it is determined by contractual increases in salary and benefits, health insurance, and pension contributions, all of which cannot be changed for the most part, the areas where the board has discretion involve careful consideration and analysis.

- Additionally, the Village Board reviews fees to be charged to residents for various services such as recreation and water thereby influencing the income aspect of the budget.

- Finally, the departments and the staff provide an analysis of the present and future capital needs and manner of funding such projects, equipment, and items.

- The Board directly influenced this year's budget in a number of ways but one particular decision was by directing staff to remove $455,000.00 for multi-space parking meters from the budget and directing staff to start a pilot program at little or no cost to the Village, of new single space meters using new technology.

Members of the public and press are welcome to ask the candidates questions directly via email: nonpartisan@scarsdalecitizens.org.

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