Kinderhook, Chatham face cloudy town revenue forecasts

GHENT—The towns of Kinderhook and Chatham have been putting together their 2021 budgets. Towns finalize budgets in November and file them with the county. The spending plans will then take effect as of January 2021.

Chatham will hold a public hearing on the town’s preliminary budget November 5 at 6:30 p.m. The board is proposing about a $3 million budget for the general and highway funds. The proposed budget is on the town website, .

Kinderhook, the most populous town in the county, held a public hearing October 21 on the 2021 proposed budget. There was no public comment on the plan. The proposed budget is on the town website, . The total proposed budget is about $2.6 million.

Both towns held budget workshops during the month of October and both talked about the loss in revenues, mostly in court fees, in their 2020 budgets. Both towns also discussed possible increases in their share of the mortgage tax.

Kinderhook Supervisor Patsy Leader read a statement at the public hearing announcing that in the 2021 budget there is “a significant reduction in revenues.”

She said that even with a mortgage tax increase, the funds do not “get rid of the $90,000 shortfall in the budget.” The town used about $35,000 from its fund balance to reduce the tax levy, she said. The levy is below the state mandated tax cap and “there is no increase in tax rate for 2021,” Supervisor Leader said.

The town tax rates are 55 cents per $1,000 of assessed property in the villages of Kinderhook and Valatie and $1.05 in the rest of the town.

In her statement, Ms. Leader said that, based on information from the county, the anticipated sales tax revenue for 2021 “has been reduced by $94,000. This is down 18% from the amount budgeted for in 2020.” At the last budget meeting in October, Supervisor Leader said putting together the budget was “a lot of work” and she said in her statement that though there was a loss in revenue, the town “will continue to have the services like our parks, youth and senior programs.”

At Chatham’s weekly budget workshops in October the board reviewed funds with Tammy Shaw, assistant to the supervisor, and David Levow, chairman of the Planning and Finance Committee.

While the Kinderhook Town Board has started having in-person meetings in the gym at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, Chatham is meeting online and posting recordings of those meetings on the town’s website.

Chatham Supervisor Donal Collins said at the last budget meeting that he has been talking to the town justices about the loss in revenues from court fines and he said they painted a “little bit rosier picture for us.” Both town courts had to close due to the pandemic in March through June.

Both towns have also talked about reductions state funding for the highway departments, budgeting for less in Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) funding.

The next Kinderhook Town Board meeting will be Monday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The Chatham Town Board is holding its public hearing and workshop meeting November 5 and will have the regular monthly meeting Thursday, November 19 at 6:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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