One of the wonderful and unique things about town government is that many decisions lie directly with the residents.

This year, town electors will be able to vote on a proposed 2.5% increase to the allowable levy. Please join us on at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, for a presentation and public hearing on the 2020 budget, then a vote to follow.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this modest increase after many years of the town keeping local taxes flat. Doing so will help us to avoid debt, and cuts to an already very practical budget. A levy increase will enable us to continue to provide basic services with continued improvements to roads and bridges.

This year, under the state’s levy limit, we would see an increase to revenue of approximately $39,000, but our costs for EMS and senior services, just to name a couple items, will increase by almost $27,000, leaving us with $12,000 to dedicate to other needs. Adding 2.5% above the levy limit could generate approximately $30,000.

Since 2015, when I was elected chair of the Town Board of Supervisors, we’ve built a new Town Hall, adopted a comprehensive plan, enhanced our operations, all while continuing to lose land to annexation and staying debt free. The Town has tried to keep budgets flat and the local mill rate down. However, it’s a challenge to keep up with inflation and regional pressures.

Here’s your opportunity to get involved in a conversation about the Town’s budget and help us plan for more revenue for roads, stormwater management, road related equipment and other needs.

The board’s goal is to uphold the town’s vision statement, which says we will “maintain the Town as an independent, financially sustainable, safe, and healthy rural community.”

Mark Geller is the Verona Town Board chair.