Pelham Manor Mayor Lapey responds to journalist’s analysis of merging village services


Pelham Manor Mayor Lapey

An analysis by David Joachim of Bloomberg News suggests that combining services of the Village of Pelham and Village of Pelham Manor may moderately reduce costs and taxes. Despite the proposed benefits, Pelham Manor Mayor Lapey made the case as to why it may not be so simple.

Due to the national tax reform enacted in 2017, Pelham homeowners can no longer deduct the entire amount owed in their property tax from their income tax. This change has brought along new questions surrounding potential operational savings in Pelham—specifically those targeting the merger of village services. David Joachim recently went over such specifics in a report on his website, which suggested that if certain municipal services were to be combined, such as the separate fire and police departments of the two villages, Pelhamite tax costs could decrease by approximately $1,500 a year per person. However, this is a far cry from the federal change, which, according Joachim, increases taxes by about $6,000 for the median Pelham taxpayer.

Despite Joachim’s arguments, Lapey is not impressed.

“There are many layers to this issue,” Lapey said.  “His conclusion was not definitive.”

Lapey went on to point out that the Village of Pelham Manor in particular has well-scoring municipal services. New York’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System gives the Manor an impressive fiscal stress score of only five out of 100 and an environmental stress score of 0. If Pelham and Pelham Manor services were to combine, the quality represented by the scored could be jeopardized.

“I’m really proud of services in the Manor,” Lapey said. “We run a tight ship.”

Lapey also went on to discuss other expert’s opinions.

She said, “We’ve had other (experts) look at this. According to them, there would be no significant benefit to this consolidation.”

Despite the issues with further consolidation, Lapey is satisfied with the Manor’s current collaboration with the Village of Pelham.

“We have a very good working relationship,” Lapey stated.

One of the largest problems, according to Lapey, is the fact that many of the services deal with life-and-death situations. To change the systems of the fire department, for example, could waste valuable seconds in a crisis.  

“It’s very hard when loss of life is involved,” Lapey said. “I think you have to look at the entire package.”