SUPERVISOR'S BUDGET MESSAGE
The Tentative FY 2020 Budget is designed to insure funding for the professional delivery of services and the continued investment in Red Hook's quality of life and community character. For the fourth year in a row the budget has been developed without raising the tax rate burden on our homeowners and businesses. To illustrate the result of our collaborative efforts, please note that the FY 2020 General Fund (A) tax rate proposed is $1.056297, nearly 6% lower than 2015's 1.1192.
These results are noteworthy in that we are at the same time making significant investments in our community. Activities either completed or underway include expansion and renovation of our recreational facilities; new playgrounds, tennis, basketball and pickle ball courts, as well as trail projects, sidewalks, campus expansion and renewable energy projects. Significant capital investment in our highway equipment, roads and staff have also occurred in the last few years.
Red Hook's economic growth is a modest contributing factor to our positive results and outlook. Our tax roll continues to expand, with current activity suggesting that 2020 's financial prospects may be increasing. These multi-year achievements are not without challenges, however.
Rapidly increasing health care costs; with annual increases of 21, 15, 15, 9, and 6% have placed a tremendous burden on labor expenses. Restructuring portions of our operations has resulted in some mitigation of that impact. At the same time, the 2020 budget proposal goes far to insuring that as an employer we are paying a living wage; bringing minimum hourly wages to $17/hr. for our part timers.
Notable changes to this year's budget include an increase to funding for our emergency service providers. Red Hook and Tivoli Fire companies will have additional capital needs and our annual budget increases capital project funding line by 50% for necessary equipment, facilities and expenses that are critical to their operations. Contract services by the Red Hook Police are proposed to be expanded by 11.1%, as we work towards providing enhanced safety for our residents.
Despite not having raised taxes over the past several years, overall fund balances remain at record high levels and prepare us well for unexpected expenses and changes to the economic environment. With the contributions of our dedicated employees and hundreds of community volunteers, Red Hook's financial picture is very bright. The FY 2020 Budget aims to move us closer to the goal of making sure that people of all economic abilities can call this wonderful community home.
Highlights of the Tentative FY 2020 Budget
Town of Red Hook Tentative 2020 Budget