Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman, a candidate for Spring Valley Mayor, has released the following statement on Mayor Noramie Jasmin’s proposed 2013-14 budget for Spring Valley:
The proposed village budget for 2013-14 has been presented by Mayor Jasmin as a win for taxpayers; however it presents grave problems for the near- and long-term future of Spring Valley’s finances. The budget, which is a financial scam, includes the swiping of $2 million from its reserve funds to be balanced. This equates to a 9.3 percent tax increase. Those funds will need to be replenished, and therefore, the mayor is actually automatically increasing taxes on our struggling residents for a future budget in order to propose an election year budget that will seem painless now but hurt royally in just one year’s time.
As a result of this political scheme masquerading as good financial sense, over 7 percent of the budget is coming from the fund that is supposed to be untouched unless a grave crisis strikes – and is not intended to balance an annual budget. By taking over 40 percent of the reserve fund just to balance this year’s budget, Mayor Jasmin has proposed an overwhelmingly irresponsible budget that places taxpayers in serious jeopardy.
This is not the first time that Mayor Jasmin and her village board have recklessly used reserve funds. In December, they spent over $100,000 on a mobile stage that is totally unnecessary for the village and will be used approximately three times a year.
Most importantly, at the current spending levels, future budgets will not have such reserve funds available to tap into. Therefore, when those funds run out in roughly two years time, the village will face financial insolvency, and either increase taxes approximately 35 percent at that time, or be forced into bankruptcy.
As a Councilman in Ramapo, I have always kept to the tax cap and only voted for budgets that are responsibly balanced – the only candidate for mayor with such a record. I am proud of my work, which has cut costs and not services, saving Ramapo taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. My government consolidation initiative, which has won the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, would permanently reform Spring Valley government, and drive down the cost of property taxes for village families. Sadly, the mayor has stood in our way of getting this vital work done.
This budget is just the latest chapter of governing missteps by Noramie Jasmin. Since becoming an elected official in Spring Valley and casting her first budget vote 11 years ago, Mayor Jasmin has voted to increase property taxes 94 percent – from a rate of $118.20 when she first came in to office, to $229.30 today.
This devastating record has sent families into financial ruin. However, at the same time as raising everyone else’s taxes, Noramie Jasmin increased her salary as a Village Trustee from $9,500 when she came into office, to $16,720 when she left that office eight years later – a whopping 76 percent pay increase. As mayor, she increased her salary from $92,385 to $125,000 – an increase of over 35 percent in fewer than three years – including a $10,000 pay increase for herself last year alone. Her compliant village board voted for these tax increases at the same time they increased their own salaries to $25,750 – totaling an astonishing 171 percent increase in their own pay over 11 years.
As Mayor Jasmin continues to drive through the suffering streets of Spring Valley in her $60,000 taxpayer-funded luxury SUV, the state of this village continues to weaken. It is time to put an end to the “Tax You And Pay Me” attitude of the Jasmin Administration, and work to turn this village around and make it a great and affordable place to live once again.