Village Budget Update: Two Community Engagement Sessions Scheduled

budget(Thanks to LWVS Village Budget Chair Diane Gurden for the following update on the Village Budget process.)
The Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees, the Village Manager, and the Village Treasurer, have begun the process of assessing the Village’s finances and evaluating revenue and expense projections in order to prepare the budget for 2021-22. Due to the challenges presented this past year, the process was started a month earlier than usual. The initial starting point of the draft budget indicated that a tax levy of 4.52% would be required if no other action is taken. With a goal of reducing that number, each Department Superintendent was asked to plan how they would cut 5% of costs or 10% of costs and explain the impact of those reductions to the community. The significant effort to provide this cost reduction information, along with various market pricing comparisons and historical data facilitated detailed conversations about real savings vs. costs that would simply be deferred to a future date.

The continuing budget sessions are open to the public but attending every meeting may prove to be a challenge for many. To address this concern, critical budget information will be concentrated into two Wednesday evening sessions for the community to attend that will review proposed budget changes and their impact to fees, services, capital projects, taxes, fund balance, and debt, and provide a chance for the community to comment.

Find the meeting details and Zoom links here:

Community Budget Session Review #1 - Wednesday, February 24 at 5 p.m.
Community Budget Session Review #2 - Wednesday, March 3 at 5 p.m.

2020-21 Budget Review Summary

2020-21 presented the Village with unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. The Village impressively pivoted to continue to provide essential services during complete lockdown, implemented protocols to safely reopen Village Hall, accommodated remote access to Village employees and services, reimagined program offerings using COVID-19 safety procedures, incurred only essential expenses through austerity measures, and protected against potential, unknown revenue losses by budgeting a COVID-19 contingency into the Fund Balance.

These measures helped Scarsdale avoid the potential worst case scenario, but negative impacts to revenue were unavoidable, due to losses from parking permits, parking meters, sales tax, and fines and forfeitures (e.g., fewer people were on the road). Some of this financial impact is temporary, but other trends, such as working from home, are likely to be a more permanent change in residents’ behavior. New opportunities will need to be found to address the gap in revenue.