Locals Cannot Afford Property Tax Increase

NEWBURGH – At a time when Newburgh City Manager Michael Ciaravino proposed a combination of a property tax increase and using a portion of the fund balance in his proposed 2019 budget, frustrated city residents came to the council meeting Tuesday night calling for the way Newburgh is run to be reinvented.

Ciaravino told the city council he sees three options to the financial dilemma.

“The first is we could draw upon all the fund balance, not have to raise taxes, certainly not have to have a discussion about exceeding the tax cap, and we could hold our breath through 2019. That would unfairly burden Mayor Harvey, yourself and your team, going into the coming fiscal year as well as beyond,” he said. “The other thing we could do is just propose the most exorbitant of taxes and not touch fund balance at all.”

Ciaravino is proposing a combination – raise taxes a lesser amount and use a portion of the reserve fund.

His proposed $45.8 million spending plan would increase the tax levy by 7.1 percent.
Residents called for development of market value housing to keep taxes affordable. Many told of how their taxes have gone through the roof with one woman saying taxes for her single-family home rose to $22,000 this year.

Mayor Torrance Harvey noted more than half of a taxpayer’s bill is school taxes.
Landlord Richard Fracasse said there should be “a moment of silence for the death of the City of Newburgh.”

Residents said there will be a massive out-migration of residents who cannot afford their taxes.

The two dozen comments came during a public hearing on possibly exceeding the state-mandated tax cap.

While Tuesday was the deadline by which the city manager had to submit his proposed budget, Councilman Jonathan Jacobson said the budget, as proposed, is “DOA.”

With the recent resignation of City Comptroller Katherine Mack in the midst of the budget cycle, City Manager Michael Ciaravino hired CPA Charles Duffy to assist in the budget preparation.

Councilwoman Hillary Rayford voiced her opposition to the council receiving the proposed budget during the council meeting.

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