Thursday, October 29, 2009

Town of Beekman Blunder Overstates Tax Rate Increase

A blunder has caused Town of Beekman Supervisor John Adams to significantly overstate the proposed 2010 Town tax rate increase. A letter from Adams to Beekman Town Clerk Virginia Ward on October 19 includes figures indicating that the projected 2010 Town of Beekman property tax rate would increase 10.09 percent. Also, a Poughkeepsie Journal story on October 14 states that Adams is proposing a 10 percent tax rate increase. In reality, the projected 2010 Town of Beekman property tax rate would decrease 0.7 percent.

Town of Beekman Budget Officer William Brady has confirmed this blunder, which I discovered by examining Beekman's preliminary budget. The blunder was caused by mistakenly comparing the projected tax rate with the corresponding 2008 tax rate. The comparison should have been made with the 2009 tax rate, which is substantially higher. The net size of the tax rate error is 10.8 percent.

Effect on Property Taxpayers

Beekman property taxpayers will presumably be glad to know that their Town of Beekman taxes will decrease slightly, rather than increasing significantly. The bad news is that the Town of Beekman has held down its tax rate only by transferring a $319,000 ambulence-contract cost to the Beekman Fire District, thus raising the Beekman Fire District tax rate by a whopping 56 percent, from $0.46 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation to $0.72. Thus, the same taxpayers will be paying higher taxes out of another pocket. The dirty little secret of property taxes strikes again.


  1. I would like to thank Bill Rubin for identifying the error that was made. After factoring in the fire district budget we will still experience about a 10% change in the tax rate of the two combined budgets. Keep in mind that the valuation of the Town dropped by about 6% so the effective change in dollars paid will be about 4%. In regards to the transfer of the responsbility for the ambulance contract to the fire district, we have been very upfront about that, making sure people understand that is why their fire taxes will increase next year.
    John Adams

  2. The Poughkeepsie Journal has given me my 15 seconds of fame, with a brief story today on page B-1 about the Town of Beekman's budget.


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