Village of Pelham’s proposed $16.2 million budget draws question from one resident during public hearing

Village of Pelhams proposed $16.2 million budget draws question from one resident during public hearing

The Village of Pelham Board of Trustees received one question Tuesday during a public hearing on its proposed $16.2 million budget for 2021-22.

“If expenses are growing at 4% per year, does that make it difficult to maintain a 2% tax cap?” the person asked via Zoom.

“I do think there is some truth in that,” Mayor Chance Mullen said. “The things we can’t control are starting to take over the budget, even more so than the staffing costs.” He said he too has questions regarding the long-term sustainability for the state tax cap. “We have been cutting the things we can control in order to make room for things we can’t,” Mullen said.

The tentative 2021-2022 budget increases taxes 6.71%, breaking the 2.92% cap set by the state. The main reason for the increase is the loss of revenues collected from downtown commuters and shoppers via parking meters and parking tickets. Spending rises 2.25% in the budget.

The village trustees will vote on the spending plan April 27, and five of the seven Democrats on the board must approve it because the increase is above the cap.

The hearing began with mention of Mullen’s recent video explaining the potential short- and long-term effects of the budget on residents.

“I do want to say thanks to the folks who sent emails with questions, and who provided surprisingly positive feedback,” Mullen said. 

After the hearing closed, Mullen discussed upcoming local events that he anticipates could boost the village’s downtown revenue. He talked about SummerFest, a music festival first hosted by Pelham Together in Chester Park in 2019.

The event “was one of the best things done in Pelham,” said Deputy Mayor Michael Carpenter. “It was awesome.”

Several board members said they hoped that another SummerFest might serve as a way for people to come together and to bring activity to downtown Pelham.

Also discussed was the Pelham Market, previously held at the old Capital One building on Fifth Avenue, which the Pelham Chamber of Commerce has asked to continue. With construction of the new municipal center, the site is no longer available. Trustees discussed moving the market to Michael Schwerner Way, and said it would be yet another way to get people into the heart of the village.