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State of New York

County of Fulton

Town of Caroga

Minutes of a Caroga Town Board meeting held Saturday October 31, 2020 at the municipal building located at 1840 State Highway #10 at 9:30 am with the following persons in attendance by roll call. The flag salute followed.

Supervisor Scott Horton - Here

Council Member John Glenn – Here

Council Member James Long - Here

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Here

Council Member Donald Travis - Here

Supervisor Horton, Council Members Glenn, Sturgess, and Travis were in the meeting room Council Member Long accessed the meeting remotely. Joanne Young –Bookkeeper and Budget Officer was also in attendance as were three members of the public, The Golf Pro Steve Jennings arrived later in the meeting. There were 54 members of the public total signed in using ZOOM. Gene Centi – Weed Harvesting Coordinator and Parks, Lakes, Recreation, and Tourism Chairman facilitated the ZOOM meeting.

Supervisor Horton noted the success of the Trunk or Treat event. There were more attendees and more participants (handing out candy) than ever before. The School did not want to do it this year. We thought we could do the event at Sherman’s but that didn’t work out. The event was held across the street at the Glenn Harris Memorial Park. He thanked the PLRT for putting the event together. They are already making plans for next year. The Supervisor thanked the Fire Company for doing traffic control.

Council Member Glenn noted that the outlet dam for East and West Caroga Lake is now open. They have begun to drain the water down to the winter level. The Highway Department removed debris from under the Route 10 bridge.

Mrs. Holliday announced today at 2 pm there will be a flag raising at the Fire Department.

Council Member Long stated he is getting iMessages coming in stating the people are waiting to be let into the meeting. Mr. Centi stated one person at a time is admitted. There was one person in the waiting room.

The Supervisor noted to raise your hand via ZOOM – press *9, to mute and unmute your phone press *6. Mr. Centi noted the *9 does not work for computer use. They should use the chat icon at the bottom of the screen.

Supervisor Horton stated the purpose of the public hearing today is to listen to public comments on the proposed Local Law #4 to override the state mandated tax cap of 1.6% for next year’s budget. The tentative budget was extensively reviewed by the board on three different sessions. Comments from the public were considered by the board which resulted in cuts of $68,000.00. The tax rate on the General fund went from $0.94 down to $0.37. The cut took out salary increases for elected officials except the Town Clerk and Highway Superintendent. That had a minimal impact of $0.04 per thousand. Increased cost of government like insurance premiums, and real and anticipated reductions in revenue, some due to COVID-19, created the situation where the town board saw the necessity to override the tax cap.

Supervisor Horton stated the comment period would be for approximately thirty minutes. Those speaking were asked to state their name and address and keep to about two minutes or less to allow others to speak. If at all possible, the Supervisor wanted to avoid repeating over and over again points that were made by someone else previously. The board will deliberate after the public hearing is closed and vote. He stated it has not been an easy process. The Supervisor stated the board was using fund balance of $230,000, this is a similar amount used in the past. The impact of this budget will affect most property owners at around $100.00 per property.

The Supervisor read the Proposed Local Law.

WHEREAS, the year 2020 has been an extraordinarily challenging year for local municipalities in Upstate New York, which has not seen a significant outbreak of COVID-19 but, like all other local governments throughout New York State, the region was forced to shut down for an extended period of time, while maintaining day-to-day operations necessary to keep a town functioning and serving the people most closely impacted by the sudden shuttering of businesses, job loss, and the added stress living in a period of uncertainty creates; and

WHEREAS, amongst the backdrop of COVID-19, and the multitude of challenges this pandemic continues to cause society, the New York State Comptroller recently released the “2 Percent Tax Cap” figures for the budget year 2021, and advised the Town of Caroga that the tax cap, in actuality, will be 1.60%; and

WHEREAS, the State of New York’s declaration that the tax increase for the 2021 budget for the Town of Caroga must remain under 1.60% of the tax rate adopted in 2020 is unrealistic, and threatens to force town boards across the State to choose between maintaining services or curtailing services and thereby increasing the potential for public safety to be sacrificed; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board for the Town of Caroga believes it to be in the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers of the town to craft a financially prudent, but reasonable and realistic town budget for 2021, without being restricted by an artificial and unworkable 1.60% tax cap limitation; and

WHEREAS, Local Law No. 4 of the Year 2020 is a Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit for Fiscal Year 2021 Established by General Municipal Law §3-c, and to allow the Town of Caroga to adopt a Town Budget for town purposes, fire protection districts, and other special or improvement districts governed by the Town Board for the Fiscal Year 2021 that requires a real property tax levy in excess of the tax levy limit as defined by GML §3-c; and

WHEREAS, the Local Law expressly authorizes the Town Board to override the tax levy limit by the adoption of a Local Law by a vote of 60% of the Town Board; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board desires to hold a public hearing on October 31, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Offices and also via Zoom per executive order 202.67, for the purpose of hearing public comments on the adoption of Local Law No. 4 of 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board has considered the application of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and hereby determines that the proposed Local Law constitutes a Type II action for which an environmental assessment form shall not be required;

NOW, THEREFORE, upon motion made by Town Supervisor Horton and seconded by Council Member Long, be it resolved as follows:

RESOLVED, that Local Law No. 4 of the Year 2020 of the Town of Caroga, A Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c is hereby introduced; and be it is further

RESOLVED, that the Town Clerk shall advertise the holding of a public hearing by the Town Board on Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom and at the Town Hall, located at 1840 State Highway 10, Town of Caroga to hear any comments related to the proposed Local Law No. 4 of 2020.

There were 46 people in the room on ZOOM at this time.

Doug Purcell 604 S. Shore Road East Caroga. He sent out a letter to the Town board and the Town Clerk last evening. It was quite late and he was not sure everyone had a chance to read it. He thanked the Town board for their many hours of hard work put in to develop the proposed budget for 2021 during these trying times. He is opposed to exceeding the tax levy. Mr. Purcell stated as of the end of September the general account fund balance is roughly $1,790,000.00 The Highway account is roughly $369,000.00. Based on an analysis with the year to date expenditures and revenue he suggested it is easily possible to end the year with a combined fund balance of over a million dollars with judicious fiscal restraint for the remainder of the year. Based on the Budget Officers analysis of the various scenario budgets the proposed budget would support a tax underneath the tax cap. Mr. Purcell stated the town could use roughly $479,000.00 of fund balance. In the 2020 budget $547,000.00 was used of fund balance. What has become apparent during this analysis is that appropriations are being over estimated by some 40% while revenues are being under estimated by 10%. It is his sincere hope that this board will take this information under consideration and not proceed with the proposed law. Should it be determined after deliberations that the law is passed, he hoped the town board will heed making discussions and questions that come forth during Wednesday’s presentation of the budget to the town.

The Supervisor stated the concept that Mr. Purcell is suggesting is to use more of the fund balance than what the board has put into the preliminary budget to reduce the impact of the tax increase. Mr. Purcell offered to send the spreadsheet with the analysis. The Supervisor stated the Jim Selmser spent some time on this and sent some numbers. He was not sure if Mr. Purcell worked on this with him or not.

There was no one in queue requesting to speak at this point in time.

Lynne Delesky asked how many other towns in Fulton County are overriding the tax cap. Neither the Supervisor nor the Budget Officer knew the answer to this question.



Council Member Long noted the Budget Officer serves another town in this capacity and he asked if that town was overriding the tax cap. Mrs. Young responded, “No.”

Supervisor Horton stated it was a good question but he had trouble with the relevancy. He noted every town is different, every town has gotten to where they are this year differently. In talking with other town Supervisors, they have done this in the past. He stated many other municipalities in New York State are doing this. Supervisor Horton stated you would have to go back over five years or more of history on how budgets were developed, the problems they had vs. the problems the Town of Caroga faces. It was a good question.

Steve Smith 152 S. Shore Road Canada Lake (soon to be 152 Sand Point Road) stated that Doug Purcell’s letter is excellent and he fully supports everything that he wrote and said opposing the tax hike, and thinking about his solutions in an innovative way. Council Member Long thanked him. Supervisor Horton has not reviewed all of the numbers. He spent an hour with former Supervisor Selmser, when they looked at the numbers, he didn’t account for reserve funds. He though Mr. Purcell’s number showed $105,000.00 in reserve funds. The Supervisor though the reserve funds were a little more than that. The available fund balance is reduced by that amount, except if you use the reserve funds for the purpose to which they are intended.

A question was typed in. Mr. Centi read it. Alan Fiedler asked if Linda G or Scott comment on what is a typical fund balance for towns in New York State. Supervisor Horton did not know. He did know that fund balances are looked at by the State Comptroller’s Office. There is a stress test that the Comptroller has. It is a scale of zero to one hundred, zero being the best one hundred being the worst. If a town gets to 75 the comptroller comes in and takes over. The Town of Caroga is a zero on fiscal stress and we are rated 16 for environmental stress. Environmental stress has to do with the tax base. The Supervisor stated you can have too much fund balance. Reserve fund and fund balance are not the same. In looking at the future the preliminary budget was developed looking down the road a minimum of five years. He hopes to put together a five-year budget next year, so people know where we are headed. The Supervisor reminded people that a tax increase on a percentage basis is high. The actual tax amount is not that bad he did not believe. The main thing is to have a solvent town for years to come. The Supervisor asked Mr. Selmser what he saw in the budget for capital expenditures for town hall, the town garage, the golf course building, and a salt shed. There is no money in the budget to address any of those issues. The Town board is taking a long-term approach. Many of the emails he has received are only thinking about next year and next year only. The Supervisor wanted to stand firm and used the phrase “pay me now or pay me later.” He noted the risk of doing this now is not a risk. If he is correct then the town will avoid falling off a cliff. If he is wrong then the town will just have some extra money that the taxpayers won’t have to pay in the future.

Supervisor Horton agreed that the town has been over budgeting expenditures (appropriations) putting in more money and asking the taxpayers to pay for things that we were never going to spend the money on. The following year we give it back to them.

Mr. Centi read a typed in question from Jean Davis. She asked the Supervisor to explain the process for overriding the tax cap. Supervisor Horton stated by state law the town has to pass a local law by three votes. There has to be a public hearing which is being done today. Then we can override it. You have to override it for a reason.

Deborah Price of 205 East Shore Road West Caroga thanked the board of their service. She understood their responsibilities to our community. She expressed her support of Doug and Nancy’s letter and the numbers that they have shared. She understands as a director of a successful not for profit as well as a member of many boards over the past 30 years how challenging, and the complexity of budgeting. She thought it would take some additional time but the board needs to find a satisfactory solution that does not exceed the New York State cap. She understands the time it takes and hopes the board will take that time.

Supervisor Horton thought she was saying she would like the board to use more of the fund balance. It is probably unrealistic when expenses are going up again, he is looking out five years. The Supervisor noted the expenses for running the town are going up faster than these artificial tax caps. At the risk of sounding political it is a set up for localities because the state government knows you can’t use their formulas and cap governments on and on without an action such as the board is contemplating today. He noted health insurance went up just under 9%, general liability went up 5 %. Those two combined the Supervisor stated are close to $100,000.00. It is not sustainable.

Mrs. Price stated her personal opinion is this was not the year to do it. She thought it was quite a bit of the community’s opinion. She noted the numbers are flexible and Archean. She thought the board needed to look at it at least one more time before they make this law Supervisor Horton replied “We certainly will.”

Supervisor Horton reminded the public that specifics of the budget can be talked about on November 4th at the public hearing on the budget.

Mr. Centi reminded people not to duplicate points or interest or questions that have already been brought up. There are several questions in queue.

Kim Hart 250 South Shore Canada Lake Road also whole heartedly support Doug and Nancy Purcell’s letter. It was very well thought out and researched and it should be taken into consideration. She referred to this year being a totally different year than any other year, considering this is not the year to do things. As the town’s expenses are going up so are everyone else’s in the community. We are not taking vacations; we are cutting back we are trying to hang on to what we have. She asked when the $100.00 increase is being referred to. Where is the Supervisor coming up with that number? She does not see that everybody’s contribution would be the same based on the fact that our assessments are not the same. The values of the homes in Caroga are escalating. Supervisor Horton stated a good question Kim thanks. The Supervisor explained that he used $100,000.00 assessed value because most of the residences are less than that. Her point is well taken. If there is a residence over that it’s going to be a little more, if you have one that is less it’s going to be a little bit less. The Supervisor has responded specifically to tax payers asking how this will impact them. It is variable he noted. Those who have properties that are worth more will pay more. Those who have properties that are worth less than the median is going to pay less. A lot of the burden of this tax increase the board is looking at is shifted to those who are more prosperous than the average tax payer. “That’s just the way the tax code works.”

Diane Halverson 115 Dolgeville Point noted a lot of people on Canada Lake pay exorbitant taxes to support things they don’t use, like, or don’t get. She stated they don’t have schools, because you can’t access them during the ice going in and out. She stated they don’t have fire protection at all. Her call broke up. She stated they can’t have services on Dolgeville Point or on West Lake because they are not accessible. They are being taxed she said so the golf course buildings can be improved. That is an unfair burden. Supervisor Horton stated that is a classic, a lot of people say why I should pay for someone else’s road to be paved, when they don’t use it. One thing the Supervisor has learned in 70 years is that “Life is not fair.” This might fall into that category. He noted she lives in a beautiful area of town. He thought a lot of people would like to live there too. She stated the Supervisor was misunderstanding her point. All of the services in Caroga are directed toward the golf course and the garage.

Council Member Sturgess stated she has use of the golf course if she likes. He noted you cannot drive to her house in a vehicle. In the reverse the Council Member stated she did not have to deal with vehicles driving past her house, where we have to. It is 6 of one ½ dozen of another.



The Supervisor was confused but thanked her.

Council Member Long stated he would interpret her remarks as saying the Town is adding to services generally and if we can avoid busting the property tax cap that putting people in a more sustainable position to maintaining ownership of their own houses. “If we add too much to the budget, we will force people out.” Her camp is a water only access camp and is not able to take advantages of these services.

Council Member Sturgess was still unsure of services she was not able to take advantage of.

Council Member Glenn stated that is not the interpretation he got.

At this point there was no one in queue to asking additional questions. There have been some comments that people have sent out through chat to everyone so everyone has been able to see them.

Council Member Long saw people that wanted to speak, Jane Davis, Steve smith – he spoke already.



Council Member Glenn appreciates all the thoughts and only briefly read the email sent out by Doug Purcell and has read several comments. He has not had a chance to review it in depth. He would like very much to get all the spread sheets – he assumes Jim Selmser and Mr. Purcell got together to produce this. Council Member Long interjects “they did not sir, they did not”. Take it to Joanne and let her give the board the dollar and cents of where they are coming from in comparison to where the board is and what they are doing. Maybe we buy into their stuff, maybe they buy into ours. Maybe someplace in between we find a compromise.

Mr. Centi announced two more people in queue. Hillary Davis is Jane Davis’s daughter. Jane is in the room and the homeowner but they all contribute to the taxes. To clarify they did not talk yet only asked a question about the process. They have comments. She thanked the board for all of the hard work on the budget. She hopes she is not restating some Deborah Price’s comments. Mainly she noted the salary increases are outlined on the town’s website in the highlighted areas. She works in business for an outdoor retailer in VT. This is a very challenging time from them and for everyone in our community and at large in the country. What she is seeing is people being laid off permanently, furloughed, people talking pay cuts, and having their pay frozen. She is not seeing increases and promotions going on in her community. She stated this may not be the year for those types of increases. Some are nominal at 2% increases that is the cost of living adjustments, some of the increases are higher percentage wise and had concerns about those at this time.

Supervisor Horton asked the Budget Officer to inform the public on the 2% increases and what that dollar amount was and how it affected the budget. She has to find her notes. He was glad the question was asked. The Supervisor filled in by saying government service is different than private sector. He was a business owner and on the board. Each year they would struggle. You want to give people who perform very well more than you give somebody that is just toeing the line and doing a good job or people who excel. Maybe he is carrying this over to the public sector. He thinks that you want to encourage people to run for office, you shouldn’t be taking advantage of people either. Some elected positions are more of a career/ full time job. Some are people donating their time to help out. The Budget Officer stated when we looked at all the raises it was about $18,981.00 that was when we did the first thing. Then the salary of the town board and Supervisor was taken out and just put in a 2% increase for appointed positions. Also “the town board had wanted to keep in the part for the Highway Superintendent and the Clerk with longevity that brought it down to $12,000…,” Joanne goes on to say that brought it down to just $3,500 overall for the budget but there is a different for the increase for Highway Superintendent and clerk added up to….. $8,000.00 something. The Clerk supplied $6312.00. Ms. Davis states they were just looking at the percent increases. She noted the tax base is paying for those raises when your tax base is taking pay cuts and losing their jobs. She stated this year may not be the time. She was not against people being paid fairly for what they are doing. She appreciates their service to the community this just may not be the year.



This will be the last one Supervisor Horton announced.

Steve Smith pointed out (breaking up/feedback) agreed with what Hilary just said. Council Member Long stated sounds like a bandwidth issue. He pointed out that that this is an election cycle and the hypocrisy that just needs to be noted around the will of the town. He believed the board voted in is all from the Republican Party. Also based on the campaign signs around town you can see fairly clearly which direction the local part of the town swings. The justification the Supervisor gave for property taxes was very much around taxing the more wealthy at a different level. That is a distinctly Democratic position. He stated this budget is a definition of tax and spend. This is being done in a year where it really doesn’t make sense to do that. This is obviously a political philosophy that he thought needs to be noted. He believed both of those things are not in the current will of the population based on the makeup of town council and the street signs. Regardless of his political persuasion that feels like they are in conflict.

Supervisor Horton noted the point he was making was that state property tax law creates that situation. It is not his philosophy. If it makes anybody feel any better – the town board has never caucused on the budget. The town board has never once in their deliberations together or with individual conversations the Supervisor has had ever mentioned anything political. This budget has nothing to do with the national dialog that is going on. The Supervisor never wanted to be a Washington politician.



At 10:56 am the public hearing on proposed Local Law #4 was closed.

The Supervisor stated the board would have the spreadsheets on Friday. He spoke with the Budget Officer yesterday for an hour on some of those things.

Council Member Sturgess noted a lot of people are upset about the tax cap being overridden. He would like to invite those people to the meeting on Wednesday to help the board figure this out. He asked for any opinions, any ideas they have would be taken into consideration. He noted they worked for three hours and found $1,000.00. He asked the public for solutions to this.

Council Member Long has been making notes on certain points. He addressed Supervisor Horton – stating he uses the term raiding the piggy bank. “Fund Balance is not a piggy bank.” It is simply the error in, the difference between the budget appropriations and budget revenue projections. It is human nature that towns will have this discrepancy. That is fund balance, it should be plowed back into the next year’s budget. This budget does not do that. He took strong exception that this raiding was similar to the amount in the past. Last year’s budget used $530,000 of fund balance. He thought this board should be using at least that much. The fund balance has been growing. “If we do use it, we do not have to bust the property tax cap.” While he thought the budget was artificial and unworkable at the time the Supervisor said there was a $600,00 in fund balance, we now understand there is more fund balance than that at the end of this year, so that is not actually true. He also took strong exception that the board did not take that budgeting approach this year on their line by line work. Last year the board did the same thing line by line very carefully cutting wherever they could. Council Member Long stated there was a chat message from a property owner Amanda Ward who stated that many camps on Canada Lake are generational. He thought many camps throughout town are generational. In reference to the affluent of Canada Lake is incorrect in her case and his case as well. Finally, Supervisor Horton stated noting in the town was being done political – he would not make reference to personal conversations they had if the Supervisor had not said that, but the Supervisor said he is Team Trump.

Supervisor Horton didn’t think anything having to do with the presidential election would have anything to do with the town. The Supervisor Horton has stated that the phrase piggy bank that he uses in imperfect. Supervisor Horton stated that Council Member Long is wrong about fund balance being used in the highway department. Last Wednesday the Supervisor had to transfer $100,000. From one highway acct. to the general highway account because we are out of money. The board has discussed mixing the two funds to offset the problems in the highway fund. The majority of the board’s philosophy is they should both stand alone as much as they possibly can.

Council Member Long understands the accounts are separate and distinct. He noted there is nothing to prevent the board from allocating some of the sales tax revenue to the DA account. “We are allocating 100% of our sales tax revenue to the general account.” Some other towns allocate 100% of the sales tax to the highway account. He thought the board should use as much of the fund balance at least as much as was used last year. Both Supervisor Selmser and Mr. Purcell have pointed out there is plenty of fund balance there. They arrived at that independently. They did not collaborate on this. The numbers are out there in the public domain for anyone to look at and verify themselves. He is grateful to both of them for taking the time to do that analysis that basically says the board should be using more fund balance. If that had been done this meeting today would not even be necessary.

Supervisor Horton did not understand how Council Member Long had knowledge that he was not aware of as to who is colluding with who on this budget. The Supervisor asked if he was in the middle of that too.

Council Member Long was surprised when he received the email from Mr. Purcell late last night, He thought it was important for the public to know it. They sent it to the town board so it is part of the public record.

Supervisor Horton asked Council Member Long if he had talked to Mr. Selmser about the budget and his numbers. Council Member Long stated Mr. Selmser approached him when he was unable to get a response back from Supervisor Horton. The supervisor stated so that is a yes. He thought the public understands what is going on. “You have flip flopped on us.”

Council Member Long took the numbers at face value. He confessed to the public that he did not at that time use his due diligence to replicate the numbers. They have all come to this conclusion separately. Using the same fund balance as last year would obviate the need for any, not only the busting of the tax cap but maybe for any tax increase.

The Supervisor thought Council Member Long was on board when there was a discussion on looking five years and more down the road. Now you’ve indicated you are more interested in what is going on next year. Excuses can be made every single year to come up with a reason why you shouldn’t do something. If a different approach to budgeting is taken where appropriations are reduced and not having a budget as fat as it used to be, you know that the rollover will not be as great as what it has been in the past. If we keep on using the same kind of fund balance that Council Member Long is purporting to support now, we are going to hit a brick wall sooner rather than later. There is no exact formula. On Wednesday the board will take comments from the public whether the board makes changes to the preliminary budget that is what the hearing is about.

Council Member Glenn asked when the resolution was made at the last meeting who seconded the vote and who voted for it. The clerk stated Council Member Long seconded the motion to override the tax cap. The vote was unanimous.

Council Member Long stated that was based on data provided by Supervisor Horton that there would only be $600,000.00 in the fund balance. Every analysis he has seen since then has led him to believe that there will be vastly more money in fund balance at the end of this year. So yes, he seconded the motion for the tax cap override based on incorrect information provided by Supervisor Horton. He has no problem admitting he made a mistake seconding that motion. All of us now know there is vastly more money in fund balance and it has been growing each year. Council Member Long can never support raising taxes in anticipation of the need to raise taxes in the future. There is no reason to raise taxes based on the analysis provided by Supervisor Selmser, Mr. Purcell independently and by himself.

Council Member Travis noted Mr. Selmser is not Supervisor Selmser. Council Member Long stated we refer to judges and congressmen and governors and senators by their last highest position. That is etiquette in the United States.

Supervisor Horton had one quick clarification is that the fund balance that we started off with was a projected fund balance. The Budget Officer and Supervisor talked about it, it was not misleading or intentional about that. Supervisor Horton stated there are errors in the numbers that Council Member Long has been touting as being gospel. He has not figured into the formula the full amount of what our reserve funds are, or how much the town has to pay at the end of this year for retirement benefits, or what is being put into reserves because we have not made those decisions. Now it is becoming confusing to the public. What Supervisor Horton has heard from the public is that they would like to have the board use much more fund balance than what the board(s) have been doing in the past.

Council Member Long stated he is not advocating that at all. The analysis from Mr. Purcell suggested using less of the fund balance than last year, but more than this year.

Council Member Sturgess asked if we can vote to override today but then on Wednesday the board can figure out a solution after looking at Doug Purcell’s spread sheet.

Supervisor Horton suggested looking at the town’s spread sheet. He stated it is Joanne’s and his responsibility to come up with the correct numbers to make decisions on. He thought there was a lot of validity but not 100% accurate. When the budget process was started the sales tax, revenue had not been received. There is more work to be done. Every single day numbers in the budget move.

Another thing not factored in is the cost to repair the pumps. The Supervisor does not want to be misleading to the public. Supervisor Horton stated Council Member Long would rather use Doug Purcell’s and former Supervisor Selmser’s numbers than to use the Joanne’s numbers (Council Member Long wanted to interject- Supervisor Horton did not allow it) then he suggests that he then work for them. This was uncalled for Council Member Long stated. Council Member Long stated the spread sheets Joanne provided is $189,000 over and we can easily pull an additional $189,000. Supervisor Horton stated we are not discussing can we are discussing should.

Supervisor Horton stated we can wipe out our entire fund balance and have virtually no tax but then what do we do next year.

The Supervisor thanked everybody that has offered their opinions. He assured the people that the board will consider all of these things on Wednesday.

RESOLUTION #2020-132 to adopt Local Law #4 a law to Override the Tax Cap was offered by Supervisor Horton at a meeting held on Saturday October 31, 2020 held at Caroga Town hall. The motion was seconded by Council Member Long

WHEREAS, the year 2020 has been an extraordinarily challenging year for local municipalities in Upstate New York, which has not seen a significant outbreak of COVID-19 but, like all other local governments throughout New York State, the region was forced to shut down for an extended period of time, while maintaining day-to-day operations necessary to keep a town functioning and serving the people most closely impacted by the sudden shuttering of businesses, job loss, and the added stress living in a period of uncertainty creates; and

WHEREAS, amongst the backdrop of COVID-19, and the multitude of challenges this pandemic continues to cause society, the New York State Comptroller recently released the “2 Percent Tax Cap” figures for the budget year 2021, and advised the Town of Caroga that the tax cap, in actuality, will be 1.60%; and

WHEREAS, the State of New York’s declaration that the tax increase for the 2021 budget for the Town of Caroga must remain under 1.60% of the tax rate adopted in 2020 is unrealistic, and threatens to force town boards across the State to choose between maintaining services or curtailing services and thereby increasing the potential for public safety to be sacrificed; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board for the Town of Caroga believes it to be in the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers of the town to craft a financially prudent, but reasonable and realistic town budget for 2021, without being restricted by an artificial and unworkable 1.60% tax cap limitation; and

WHEREAS, Local Law No. 4 of the Year 2020 is a Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit for Fiscal Year 2021 Established by General Municipal Law §3-c, and to allow the Town of Caroga to adopt a Town Budget for town purposes, fire protection districts, and other special or improvement districts governed by the Town Board for the Fiscal Year 2021 that requires a real property tax levy in excess of the tax levy limit as defined by GML §3-c; and

WHEREAS, the Local Law expressly authorizes the Town Board to override the tax levy limit by the adoption of a Local Law by a vote of 60% of the Town Board; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board held a public hearing on October 31, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Offices and also via Zoom per executive order 202.67, for the purpose of hearing public comments on the adoption of Local Law No. 4 of 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Town Board has considered the application of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and hereby determines that the proposed Local Law constitutes a Type II action for which an environmental assessment form shall not be required;

NOW, THEREFORE, upon motion made by Town Supervisor Horton and seconded by Council Member Long, be it resolved as follows:

RESOLVED, that Local Law No. 4 of the Year 2020 of the Town of Caroga, A Local Law to Override the Tax Levy Limit Established in General Municipal Law §3-c is hereby adopted by the following vote.

Adopted by a roll call vote as follows:

Supervisor Scott Horton - Yes

Council Member John Glenn - Yes

Council Member James Long - Nay

Council Member Richard Sturgess - Yes

Council Member Donald Travis – Yes

Supervisor Horton stated see everyone at 7 pm on Wednesday. He thanked everyone.

At 11:15 the meeting was adjourned.

Submitted

Linda Gilbert, RMC, CMC

Town Clerk/Collector

Copyright © James McMartin Long 2017–2021