The upcoming budget for the Town of New Windsor is now the hottest topic in the race to represent the 99th Assembly District, and it raises three important questions.

First, how do towns and other governments approach budgeting?

Do they use the Christmas list approach, allowing every department to ask for whatever it wants? It’s the technique New Windsor prefers, but it has two drawbacks because it either ultimately dashes those pre-budget hopes or gives taxpayers a realistic reason to worry that what starts as a bloated figure might not be all that trim in the end.

If you listen to George Green, the town supervisor, this is the way budgets are done and those who disagree are “completely clueless or recklessly concocting lies for political gain” or propagating “FALSE NEWS” — capitals courtesy of his press release.

The real news, however, is different.

This is preliminary budget season and New Windsor is surrounded by some governments that have proposed preliminary budgets that are below the state tax cap and some that know they will likely go over it and, like New Windsor, have to vote to override the cap.

Or perhaps this was a trial balloon much like the proposed raises for county legislators and officials, an idea that floated only briefly before being shot down by widespread criticism.

Second, what exactly does a chief of staff do in a government that small? Normally the chief would make the boss look good, but in New Windsor, the roles are reversed. Green makes sure that Colin Schmitt gets credit for the good things that have happened while the supervisor himself is on the front line to deflect any factual questions or political attacks.

If Schmitt wins the 99th Assembly District seat, you can bet there will be a lot of candidates to replace him as chief of staff, seeking their own spot to park a campaign vehicle between elections.

Finally, another prominent Republican, Marc Molinaro, who is running for governor, has repeatedly complained that his opponent is breaking the law by allowing people to use government resources in the campaign. He tried to have police arrest Gov. Andrew Cuomo and is pushing for action in Albany.

But how is the help that the Cuomo campaign has received any different from the help that the Schmitt campaign has? The official press release taking on two familiar foes, Democrats and newspapers, is on the Town of New Windsor web site, which is clearly using public resources. Who knows how many other tax-funded resources have been used to help Schmitt in his campaign against Matt Rettig. If it’s worth investigating in Albany, it’s worth investigating in New Windsor.

None of this should obscure the good news for town taxpayers. Even though the original bloated budget proposal still sits on the web site along with the vote to override the tax cap if necessary, Green has assured everyone that there will be no big increase and relief will come the day after the election when the board once again takes up the budget.