To the editor:
As a village trustee for many years, I feel obligated to respond to Rich Shapiro's letter to the editor in the Aug. 27 issue of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, entitled "Catillaz will make Harrietstown catch up with Saranac Lake."
First of all, let me thank Mr. Shapiro for raising these points, as they need to be explored by the candidates. Unfortunately, some of the information is misleading and only half-truths, so I will make the corrections, as I believe the people of Harrietstown must be able to have a complete picture of all the facts.
Mr. Shapiro states that a new progressive and successful way has repaired streets and walks, and was done within the 2 percent tax cap.
Our streets and walks were neglected and in a state of disrepair for many years under previous village administrations. They are now finally being done with money that the village BONDED FOR. The bond payments for these repairs begin in November and steadily increase in the coming years, so to claim they have been done under the 2 percent tax cap is not accurate. There are still MANY years left to pay for these improvements.
Mr. Shapiro goes on to say Tom Catillaz wants "to keep its (Harrietstown's) tax increase below the 2 percent state-mandated cap, just as he has done for the last three years in the village."
This is also misleading, as Tom Catillaz has only been back in office since 2010, whereas the state mandate to which Mr. Shapiro refers has only been in effect for one year. In fact, this year was the first year of the mandate and the ONLY year of the last three that the village came in under 2 percent. These numbers can be verified on the village's website at www.egovlink.com/public_documents300/saranaclake/published_documents/Treasurer/2013%20Adopted%20Budget.pdf, pages 10 and 11.
I should point out that most of our village officials worked many hours in work sessions throughout January, February, March and April this year to achieve a tax levy under the 2 percent tax cap. Unfortunately, there were many of these sessions Tom did not attend. Now, only three months into the 2012-13 budget cycle, the "New Progressive" Democrat majority, which Mr. Catillaz is a part of, is already projecting a 4.75 percent tax hike for next year.
I suggest that it does not appear that the claims made by Mr. Shapiro are supported by the facts.
I do agree, however, with Mr. Shapiro that the people should make a choice for town supervisor based on past performance. To that end, I offer the following facts for the years 2000 through 2007, which includes Tom's tenure as mayor:
The village of Saranac Lake's tax levy grew a whopping 52.3 percent, from $1,892,647 to $2,882,525, an increase of nearly $1 million. These increases include:
-2003, a 5.6 percent increase
-2004, a 12.8 percent increase
-2005, a 12.1 percent increase
-2007, a 7.25 percent increase.
In closing, YES, Mr. Shapiro, Nov. 6 IS only a couple months away, and so is our future! I further suggest that before anyone votes for Mr. Catillaz to lessen our tax burden, check Mr. Catillaz's record carefully and be cautious, as history tends to repeat itself.