It seems odd that the message didn't get posted on the town's regular news page in the Town Crier, but instead shared a half page with J's Painting; which is a regular monthly insert that is probably only of interest to people needing home repairs.
So we have to wonder...is the New Hartford Town Crier playing politics? Or, did the Town Supervisor request that his "IMPORTANT MESSAGE" be placed on this insert that probably ends up in most people's recyclables without being read?
Supervisor Tyksinski has said at several town board meetings that the elimination of the Receiver of Taxes would save about $53,000 a year. That's a very nice savings. We commend Supervisor Tyksinski and the town board for their efforts to contain costs in town government by eliminating unnecessary spending without sacrificing services. We also commend them for taking the initiative to introduce online tax payment and lockbox options making it more convenient than ever for residents to pay their tax bill.
Eliminating the office of Receiver of Taxes is not something new. Several area towns have already voted in favor of eliminating their Tax Receiver office; the latest being Camillus, NY, that on September 20, 2011 overwhelmingly decided by a vote of 914 to 401 to eliminate the job.
According to CNYcentral.com, Camillus voters abolish tax receiver position:
"The proposal could save the town up to $60,000 in the first year. That's doing away with the position and eliminates the salary, the benefits that go along with it. The town clerk would then streamline the office and it would save money all the way around,” said Mary Ann Coogan, Camillus Town Supervisor.This past summer, at a town board meeting, members of the New Hartford Republican Committee let it be known that they were not in favor of eliminating the Receiver of Taxes position even though it would be a tax savings. In fact, it has been rumored that they plan to fight vigorously to keep the position that is on average a 360 hours a year job that pays $26,098 per year.
So, New Hartford voters it's in your hands...if you are in favor of the elimination of this elected position and want to shave about $53,000 off the budget for 2012, it is imperative that you get out on November 8th and vote "YES" for Proposition #1.
At any rate for those who missed this "Important Message", we are including it in its entirety along with a link to a pdf copy of the message that was included in the Town Crier.
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO NEW HARTFORD RESIDENTS FROM THE TOWN SUPERVISOR
Since taking office in January of 2010 I have consolidated many departments within the Town. The result of this effort has been a reduction in Town expenditures of over $ 1. 3 million for the 2011 tax year and an 8% tax rate reduction. We are continuing to seek advantages and efficiencies through combining and consolidating departments in an effort to again cut your tax rates. W e will however, continue to maintain the level of services, which our residents are entitled to. In this effort to reduce expenditures the Town Board and I are proposing another consolidation of Town services.
On November 8th New Hartford residents will be given the opportunity to vote on Proposition #1. The purpose of Proposition # I is the consolidation of the tax collecting function. Passage of Proposition # I will eliminate the office of Receiver of Taxes and integrate this function into the Town Clerk's office.
The Town Board has unanimously voted to move forward with this process, which requires a public referendum in order to implement. There are several reasons why the board has proceeded with this project. The following are some of the issues, which were considered by the board in making this decision:
1. The current Receiver of Taxes, Hilarie Elefante, is retiring after thirty years of service. As this is an election year for this position and as the current receiver is no longer running it was felt to be an opportune time to look at consolidation.
2. In order to consolidate this office it needs to be done this year. Under State law elimination of the tax collector position can only occur at the end of the official's term of office, which is this year. If the process were not put forward this year then the Town would have to wait another four year before the proposition could be brought up again.
3. By consolidating these two offices it will save the Town approximately $50,000 a year. This amounts to over $200,000 over the next four years.
4. For the majority of Town taxpayers the new system will not mean any changes in how they pay their taxes. For those that pay their taxes through a mortgage escrow account there will be absolutely no change at all and these people represent over half of the taxpayers. Those of you that mail in your tax payments the only change will be the address of where it should go. And, for those taxpayers that wish to pay at Butler Hall we will still be able to accommodate you.
5. This new system will bring some advantages to our taxpayers such as;
a. The ability to pay your taxes online, through the Town website.
b. The ability to pay your taxes with the use of a credit or bank debit card.
c. Extended service hours for routine matters. The Clerk's office is open 5 days a week, 7 hours a day, 52 weeks a year.
So please vote November 8th.
Patrick M. Tyksinski, Town Supervisor