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Board waits on budget

AMENIA — The public hearing for the Amenia town budget, held on Thursday, Nov. 10, drew no complaints from town residents, but the Town Board still chose not to adopt it later that evening.The adoption of the budget was postponed so that the town could look into drafting and adopting a resolution to override the mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.Although the proposed budget comes in well under the 2 percent cap, if future changes — made by the county or an audit, for example — push the budget over the cap, the overage amount will be taken out of whichever budget the town is running on at the time.That money would then be put into a reserve fund to help offset the following year’s budget, but that would also mean that it would not be available for that current year’s budget, which could cause problems, said Councilwoman Victoria Perotti.Attorney to the Town Michael Hayes said that he was asked on Friday, Nov. 11, about creating a resolution to override the 2 percent tax cap.Hayes said that it is not possible to use a simple resolution to do that; a local law would be required.Hayes explained there is not enough time to create and adopt a local law before the deadline for adopting the 2012 budget.The local law process includes public notice and public hearings, both of which have minimum time requirements.Hayes said that adopting a piece of legislature to protect the town in case the budget exceeds the tax levy cap is a “fail safe.”“You might want to do it just in case to cover yourself,” he said, but “I can’t say that there’s any reasonable likelihood that [the 2012 budget will exceed the cap.]”Local laws created to allow a budget to exceed the cap can only apply to one budget. Local laws cannot be written to apply to all future budgets.“We’re going to be under the cap, so we’ll be fine,” Perotti said.She said she expects to pass the 2012 budget during the Town Board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Amenia Town Hall.

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