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Ringwood increases levy by 1.3 percent, less than allowed under cap

RINGWOOD – Because Ringwood isn’t expecting any growth in its tax base, Ringwood residents could see their property taxes go up this year.

The Ringwood Village Board voted, 4-2, to approve a levy for $77,500, an increase of $1,000.

The 1.3 percent increase in the levy doesn’t approach the state’s tax cap, which is 3 percent this year, but two board members, village President Rick Mack and Trustee Don House, still voted against it.

Mack wanted a flat levy.

“At this time, with property values being stagnant, and I don’t see any signs at this time of that improving, I opposed an increase in the levy,” he said.

That’s the reasoning behind why at least one of the other board members approved the moderate increase.

“We could of obviously have gone higher,” Trustee Kelley Kepes said. “It’s not at the cap. We also could not have increased it at all or gone lower.

“Times are still tough for a lot of our citizens. That’s the reason why we didn’t go more. We sit and we struggle with this. ... We have to pay this and we have to face this too. But then we see the bills too.”

Kepes also is the chairwoman of the village’s finance committee.

This past year, the village resurfaced one of its major arteries, Barnard Mill Road. The project was primarily funded through a federal grant, although the village’s 20 percent-match still was $150,000.

That’s nearly double its levy, Kepes pointed out.

The village doesn’t plan to do any resurfacing this coming year, but if the village needs to do another resurfacing project in the future, it needs to put away some money now, she said.

Some patching is on the agenda though.

The levy also is designed to keep up with the costs of inflation, Mack said.

The state tax cap, passed in 1991 to reign in spiraling property taxes, ties levy increases to the rate of inflation through the Consumer Price Index.

“There’s no changes [in our financial outlook],” Kepes said. “I think the philosophy is the same: Never to go in debt. Never to buy anything that we can’t afford. Do everything that we need to do but as fiscally responsibly as you can.”

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