Gloversville Council signs off on tax rate cut; Lowest inflation-adjusted rate since mid-90s

Photo Caption: From left, Gloversville Councilman-at-large William Rowback Jr., Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan and Mayor Vince DeSantis on Monday night help put the finishing touches on the city’s 2022 budget. JASON SUBIK/THE LEADER-HERALD

GLOVERSVILLE — After reviewing the city’s anticipated 2022 revenues, the Common Council on Monday night decided to leave in place Mayor Vince DeSantis’ proposed 50-cent tax rate cut, which will bring the city’s tax rate to $19.45, Gloversville’s lowest inflation-adjusted tax rate since the mid-1990s.

Fifth Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli said the last time Gloversville had a lower nominal tax rate per $1,000 of assessed property value was in 2009 when it was $18.46.

“And even before that, the last time [the tax rate was nominally] lower than that was in 2002,” Zarrelli said, referencing a chart of the city’s property tax rates going back to the year 2000.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, $18.46 in 2009 was the equivalent of $23.98 in 2021 dollars. The city’s 2001 tax rate per thousand dollars of assessed value was $17.44, the equivalent of $27.32 in 2021 dollars.

Adjusted for inflation, Gloversville’s property tax rate peaked in 2006, when the nominal rate was $24.14 per thousand dollars of assessed value, the equivalent of $33.39 in 2021 dollars.

The Common Council appears set to adopt an $18.99 million 2022 budget, about $378,000 less than DeSantis’ original proposed budget of $19.4 million. The 2022 budget includes two additional police officers, instead of the four proposed by DeSantis, and about $100,000 in other cuts.

Ensure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out LeaderHerald.com/Subscribe

Councilman-at-large William Rowback Jr. called for the Monday budget meeting, but did not object to the revenue projections. He said the meeting was a formality.

“It was because we didn’t cover revenues in the rest of the meetings,” Rowback said.

Rowback, who is the Republican candidate for mayor running against DeSantis, then addressed for the first time publicly the controversy over whether or not he had voted for or against hiring two additional police officers during the council’s Oct. 15 budget meeting. Rowback had previously stated he voted in favor of 3rd Ward Councilwoman Betsy Batchelor’s two-officer-solution plan, tied to maintaining the city’s base level of policy of maintaining 35-officers total.

Five of the members of the Common Council, and the minutes kept for the meeting, however, showed Rowback voted against hiring the two additional officers. Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio, however, has said she does not remember how Rowback voted, although she knows she voted against Batchelor’s plan.

Rowback said he may have been wrong when he said he voted for hiring the two officers.

“We were covering so much, maybe I misspoke myself,” he said.

On Monday night, the consensus of the council agreed the projected revenues in DeSantis’ proposed 2022 budget are strong enough to justify the tax rate cut, the city’s first tax rate cut since 2019 when it was lowered from $20.64 down to $19.95 under former Mayor Dayton King.

These are Gloversville’s projected 2022 revenue sources and their respective percentages of the city’s total cash flow:
• City property taxes — $7.7 million, 39.7% of projected revenues.
• Sales tax — $4.5 million, 23.2%
• State aid — $2.3 million, 11.9%
• Fund balance — $1.8 million, 9.3%
• City fees — $1.2 million, 6%
• SMART Waters — $600,000, 3.1%
• Transit revenue — $543,780, 2.8%
• Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program — $400,000, 2.1%

Gloversville Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan said she estimates the city will have $6.6 million in fund balance, which is the city’s unspent cash reserves, at the end of 2021.

Weiterschan said the city’s 2021 budget originally anticipated spending $1.6 million in fund balance reserves to balance the budget, but the city is currently on pace to only spend $375,534 of reserves to balance its 2021 budget.

“If we spend all of the [projected 2022 fund balance budget line of $1.8 million] we would end up at the end of 2022 with $4.8 million in [reserves],” Weiterschan said. “We have a fund balance policy where we want our unassigned fund balance to [equal] somewhere from 25 to 35% of our total budget. At the end of 2021, I anticipate we will be at 32%. This 2022 budget, as it stands, would take [our total reserves to] 25.4% [of total 2022 spending].”

Batchelor said she believes the 2022 budget process was a success.

“We want the taxpayers to know that we are really working hard to provide all of the services that they need and want, while keeping a really tight budget, so we can give them a tax rate cut,” she said.

Tuesday night, the Common Council is expected to set the public hearing for the proposed 2022 budget for its first meeting in November.

Ensure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out LeaderHerald.com/Subscribe

By Jason Subik

Leave a Reply