Town Of North Hempstead Proposes Budget

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Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth recently released the tentative town budget for 2017, which is expected to stay within the New York state tax cap.

The spending is divided into several different funds: general, town outside village (TOV), town-operated special districts and commissioner-operated special districts. The general fund is meant to finance town-service based offices such as the department of parks and recreation, the department of community services, the office of the town attorney and the office of the supervisor. The tentative total for the general fund is about $67 million and amounts to roughly a $400,000 increase from the 2016 adopted budget. Spending on most general fund departments would stay more or less the same from this year’s adopted budget, with the most notable increase being in the department of parks and recreation, which accounts for 25 percent of general fund spending. The increase would be about $800,000, mostly due to the town’s need to provide security for the park, which was not a factor in past budgets. Bosworth outlined the department of parks and recreation as a priority in her letter to the town residents regarding the budget.

“Under this budget, our parks and recreation department will continue to provide exceptional concerts, multicultural events and myriad recreational activities,” Bosworth said in her letter.

The total amount of property taxes collected for the general fund would decrease by a little more than $300,000 from this year’s projected total, mostly due to the fact that total utility property taxes would be down by almost $800,000, though the rate would be slightly higher than this year’s. Class I and class II residential property taxes would increase slightly, by about 1 percent for class I and 0.5 percent for class II.

The TOV fund serves the constituents who live or own property outside of the village and covers road maintenance, snow plowing, code enforcement, building safety and inspection, environmental review and planning. The total TOV expense would tentatively increase by more than $400,000. Minimal cuts are planned for highway spending and the total collected will be about $900,000 higher compared to 2016. More than $850,000 would be cut from the department of public safety, but $170,000 would go towards environmental facilities, which had not been receiving money for the last several years and which Bosworth had outlined as an important area of focus.

“Our highway department will provide snow removal, tree trimming, street sweeping and sidewalk repair at current levels, with no cuts to these important ‘quality-of-life’ services and attention to safety,” Bosworth said in her letter. “This budget also reflects my stated commitment to pursue environmental initiatives and to secure funding for infrastructure needs.”

Total property taxes for the TOV fund would drop by more than $1 million, to under $26 million. Utility property taxes would see a rate increase from 68 percent to 74 percent, but the total collected would be less than 50 percent of 2016’s projected total because of a much lower taxable valuation total. Class I residential property taxes would go up by close to 3 percent and class II residential property taxes would see an increase of about 1.5 percent.

Bosworth said that since the proposed budget would stay under the New York tax cap, most taxpayers would qualify for tax rebates. She also notes that the budget received a positive rating from Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., an independent Wall Street bond rating agency.

“These positive ratings translate into lower interest rates and savings for taxpayers,” Bosworth said.

There will be a budget hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. The hearing will be held at North Hempstead Town Hall, located at 220 Plandome Road in Manhasset and visitors will have the opportunity for public comment. The town board will vote on the budget on Tuesday, Nov. 1, a week prior to Election Day.

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