At the March 25th Council Meeting a final version of the ZERO BUDGET was approved and introduced by the Council. The next step is a public hearing and adoption of the budget which will be on April 22nd at Town Hall.
Riverdale Chief Financial Officer, Ken Sesholtz, was on hand to answer any questions that council members might have before voting. Before the meeting, Sesholtz had updated the budget to include the last minute additions, including the $25,000 for the First Aid Squad. When asked his opinion on the final budget he said, though he normally prefers to have more padding built in, what we have is a “good budget”.
The budget passed 4-2 with the No Votes coming from Councilmen Gary Mastrangelo and Brad Clinton; Mayor Budesheim does not vote unless there is a tie. Although both expressed their concerns in adopting a budget with a zero tax increase, it still came at somewhat of a surprise. Mastrangelo had stated that he would not vote for any budget that reduced the debt payment, however, the ZERO BUDGET did not reduce the amount allocated for debt reduction which remained at $550,000. Clinton ran for Council last year stating that he was for Keeping Taxes Low, but when afforded an opportunity to give the Riverdale taxpayer a moratorium on ever-increasing taxes, he was against it. Since neither raised specific questions or concerns with the CFO when they had the opportunity, we may never know why they voted against it.
We all know that costs go up and we cannot freeze taxes forever. But as you read in my previous article, if we can keep these increases to a minimum through accountability and fiscal responsibility, it will mean big savings for the taxpayer over time. On that note, a special thanks to Councilmen Garrett Astarita and Steve Revis for supporting a budget that benefits the taxpayers 2 years in a row.