The town of Queensbury is flush.
While so many municipalities struggle to stay under the tax cap, Queensbury passed a budget last week that cut taxes 8.8 percent, and several running for office this fall said that was still not enough.
The town might be the envy of every budget officer across three counties who is struggling to get under the tax cap.
It has been implied that Queensbury residents are still overtaxed. Some candidates went so far as to say the town tax should be eliminated entirely.
We’re not ready to go that far, but it’s a topic worth exploring further.
We’ve called out municipalities in the past for holding too much money in reserve accounts, and Queensbury could be a candidate in this regard.
With three new board members filling positions on the Queensbury board — Catherine Atherden, George Ferone and Jennifer Switzer — this is the perfect time to take a hard look at Queensbury’s budget, and especially whether taxes can be cut further.
Communities like Queensbury, where new sales tax revenues seem to spew from an ever-growing retail market, need to be careful how they handle their funds, and be wary that the next downturn in the economy could be just around the corner. There is no guarantee that those sales tax revenues there today will still be there five or 10 years from now.
The criticism in Queensbury is not so much about spending as saving.
The trouble with too much cash in your savings is the temptation to spend a little too much on the next worthy project.
That tax cut residents are getting may be an indication the town has been saving a little too much.
One of the new board members, Jennifer Switzer, campaigned on a promise of instituting a long-term fiscal plan that would plan for rainy days while evaluating whether Queensbury taxpayers are paying too much right now.
It’s the type of topic the new board can take on together while getting input from taxpayers as well.
Queensbury is a well-off community that is in the unique position to give something back to taxpayers.
Even with the 8.8 percent tax cut this year, we want to point out that Queensbury’s spending is actually increasing by nearly $70,000 next year.
When our editorial board asked Switzer if the town tax could be eliminated, she said she did not know, but that long-term planning could provide the answer.
We would not be surprised if Queensbury taxpayers are paying more than they should be, but like any complex issue, simple spreadsheets don’t tell the whole story.
It’s time for the Queensbury Town Board to plan for a future that will benefit taxpayers while also preparing for emergencies. The new board should make it a priority.