December 20, 2017




Port Jervis council rejects 2018 budget

PORT JERVIS – A budget that would have increased the city tax rate 8.1 percent failed to pass during the final scheduled Port Jervis Common Council meeting of 2017. The painful irony is that if the council can’t come to an agreement by December 31, a contingency budget would kick in that will increase taxes 11 percent.

By statute, a contingency budget consists of the 2017 spending plan, to which would be added contractually obligated salary increases.

Among the ‘no’ votes was Stan Siegel, who objected to any increase for a sitting mayor or council. He said he would be willing to look at the salary issue in 2018.

Mayor Kelly Decker raised some eyebrows when he initially proposed increasing his own salary from $20,000 to $40,000, contending the part-time position requires full-time attention.

Councilwoman Sarah Hendry also opposed the budget, recalling some recent budget history.

“Progress and growth is the goal but not at the expense of the people and it is the job of this council to represent the people that are here now, not those that we may hope will move in,” Hendry said. “There are good neighbors and bad neighbors, neither of which can be determined by one’s finances. If this budget passes, your taxes will have increased nearly 27 percent in three years.”

“Failure to focus” is what Mayor Kelly Decker, who appealed for budget approval, blamed the tax hikes on.

“When you take eight years of zero percent tax increases and you don’t do things in a steady way, and work on steady growth and you cut your police department and you cut your DPW and you steal from your fund balance to make your budget work, you’re not going to survive,” the mayor said.

Decker said he will call as many special meetings as are needed between now and December 31, to reach a workable agreement.



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