By Tom Auchterlonie 
State Sen. Greg Ball argues that the required property tax levy cap is having a benefit: bringing local officials’ calls for state mandate relief to a higher profile.
“That’s a very good thing to be forcing those two discussions in a very serious way,” Ball (R-Patterson) told Mount Kisco’s Village Board of Trustees during a Monday recap of this year’s legislative session.
Ball noted concerns that officials have had at the local and school district levels, about imposing a tax cap but not having mandate relief with it. Mandates that officials have talked about since the cap was approved in June 2011 include reducing employee pension burdens and the Triborough Amendment, which keeps in place expired unionized employee contract terms until a new one is reached.
Ball also told the board that there should be balance, on the education front.
“We’ve got to make sure that there are safety valves there so we don’t devalue the level of education in, in the region,” he said.
On a related topic, Ball brought up his support for a pension Tier VI, which the legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved. He called it “a real measured step in the right direction.” (For a run down of Tier VI, click here  for details).
Ball also took time to reiterate his positions on several areas that he has made in the past year. They include skepticism of companies involved  in the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) technique for natural gas drilling, support for repealing the MTA payroll tax , and pushing for a bill that would helpservice-disabled veterans’ companies  contract with the state.
Trustees, who are all Democrats, were welcoming.
Mayor Michael Cindrich asked Ball about the possibility of state funding for a school resource officer in the Bedford Central School District. The SRO, who is statioend at Fox Lane High School, has been paid for by the Town of Bedford and the district. However, Bedford has raised concern about the continuing cost.  Ball replied that he will try to find out more.
Trustee Joseph Morreale told Ball that he appears to be “representing us very well.” He raised concern, however, about making sure that the quality of education is maintained, in relation to financing. (READ MORE )