Hometown Happenings with George Hoehmann

Supervisor, Town of Clarkstown 

DEATH AND TAXES

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” 

Benjamin Franklin’s words are as true this week as they were when he wrote them in 1789 following the ratification of our Constitution. And while we all stressed this week filing our taxes, I am reasonably confident that paying taxes is a better than Franklin’s alternative.

Here in Clarkstown, residents saw a decrease in their property taxes for the first time in over 30 years. It was a promise I made and am proud to have kept. Our residents deserve that and more.

Over the last 15 months I have worked tirelessly to begin righting our fiscal ship and reducing wasteful government spending. With the Town Board, we reduced spending by $4 million by cutting salaries and eliminating positions; reduced stipends, merged boards, and ended the take home vehicle policy. As important, we are paying down our debt and not making it our children’s or their children’s problem.

We have done this and more.

We are also preserving the suburban character of Clarkstown by cracking down on illegal housing and overdevelopment. We need not look too far to see the ramifications of down zoning and overdevelopment.

With our new Code Compliance Unit, we have more than doubled the amount of violations issued and the amount of offenders we have brought to court. We created the “No Knock” law and have over 4,000 residents registered. We also created the rental registry to ensure safe and legal apartments across Clarkstown. We will continue to do all we can to protect the safety of our residents and first responders; and preserve integrity of our town.

And we have brought integrity and transparency back to town government by ending no show jobs and making our financial documents accessible on our website. We have made government more accessible. Thousands of residents have participated in our regular tele-town hall meetings and coffee with the supervisor events. Our residents can now watch Town Board meetings on our government access channel every Thursday, and use our 311 system to report any issues they may have.

Businesses are also an important part of the equation. Having met with business owners across out town, I have heard first hand how property taxes deter the retention and attraction of businesses. That is why I made reducing both residential and commercial property taxes a priority.

The first commercial property tax cut sent a strong signal that Clarkstown is open for business. It should come as no surprise that we have over 300,000 square feet of new commercial space being planned that will be a shot in the arm to our local economy and ease the burden on all who pay property taxes.

It’s been a very busy year and we have more to do, but Clarktown is moving forward and finally has a local government as good as the people it serves.