by Beth Riso
Thirty people made a difference last week saving thousands of dollars for thousands of Orangetown taxpayers.
The Orangetown Town Council, which had been set to over-ride Governor Cuomo’s two percent tax cap approved last July, abruptly turned about face and voted No after a citizen outcry at last Wednesday’s Town Council Meeting. More than 30 Orangetown residents came to the preliminary budget meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the tax-cap busting resolution. If it had passed, the proposed 2012 Orangetown Budget would have raised property taxes by as much as 7.5 percent.
Town Supervisor Parul Whalen, who had been poised to approve the resolution to exceed the tax cap, cast a No vote joining Councilmen Tom Diviny and Michael Maturo. Nancy Low-Hogan and Dennis Troy voted in favor of the overriding the tax cap.
It wasn’t an easy decision as Orangetown will need to cut $2.4 million from its annual budget by November 20 to trim expenses to match proposed 2012 revenues.
What took place at this public hearing demonstrated the power of ordinary citizens to influence their government. Thirty people, who took two hours out of their day, managed to get the attention of our elected leaders. It was a good day for democracy.