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January 23, 2014

Butler: Hartwick tax hike necessary

(Continued)

However, in both the letter and again in an interview with the Cooperstown Crier on Monday, Butler said that he also blames himself and the other board members.

“I was on the board then, so I take responsibility too,” he said on Monday. “We all have to take a little hit on it. I do feel like we were misled a bit, but we all have to take responsibility.”

Ryan did not respond to a request for a response by deadline on Tuesday. 

Butler also said that he felt like there were other factors that had hurt the town’s finances, including an increase in state pensions and a lack of fairness in distribution of hotel and motel bed taxes. In addition, he pointed out that Hartwick’s taxes are still lower than most of the neighboring towns.

“If you look at Laurens, or if you look at New Lisbon, both are more than $1 (per $1,000) over what we are,” he said.

Butler said that he feels like the board has stabilized the town’s budget and that no more extreme measures will be needed in the future. He said that the town will take the advice of the auditor to separate funds and that he is advising all board members to take advantage of municipal accounting programs offered by the state.

“The plan is to keep the budget as close to the cap as possible from here on out,” he said.

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