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Interim Report projects 29% Savings for Pawling Village Taxpayers

Annual savings could increase to 36% for Village

By Karen Kelley
There is a projection of 29% savings for Pawling Village property owners on their combined Town/Village Taxes in the recently released Interim Report created by Town Consultants Laberge Group for the proposed Consolidation in Pawling. This cost savings is detailed on Page 57 of the Report that is available on the Laberge Group website.
The cost savings is based on re-organization of overlapping functions and does not include additional savings that would come for Village Taxpayers when the Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit (CETC) is received in 2022.  The CETC is an annual award for successful consolidation promised from NY State where there would be an additional tax reductions (up to 36%) for Village Tax payers.  The estimated tax credit will be $795,943 to Pawling according to the LaBerge report.
The savings does not include cost sharing for Town taxpayers of “user funded” special districts that provide sewer, water, refuse pick up and other Village specific resources like sidewalks and lighting. Ben Syden of Laberge Group stated that generally a Village will realize more savings that a Town simply because of economies of scale with shared services like administration, fiscal and legal services, highway and land use functions.
The Village has a population of 2,085 and the Town outside the Village has three times that number for a total of 6,141 according to the report. It is easy to understand that a scale of  8,226 total population would spread the impact of consolidated services to the advantage of Village residents.
Pawling Town Taxpayers would not see the same impact but instead a 6% decrease in town taxes after consolidation (with CETC tax credit). There are many issues left unresolved as the Interim Report does not discuss in any detail where these projections come from except general explanations and only a single reduction in staffing is suggested. Further staff reductions may be identified in the full study to be completed in 2021 (if approved).
Syden does say that the Interim Report is limited in scope due to time constraints and that the fiscal impact cannot be determined until a thorough study has been conducted that would take place after a successful vote on November 30 in the Town and Village is completed. If the resolution is turned down then no further analysis will be done.