Village board trustees ensure there is no fat to cut
The Northport Village Board of Trustees discussed the proposed $20 million budget for the 2016-17 calendar year at a public hearing Tuesday, which would result in a roughly $2 property tax increase for village taxpayers.
Most of the 2.93 percent overall budget increase from last year is due to increased spending in public safety, home and community services, employee benefits and debt service. The $65.14 property tax would be a slight increase from last year’s property tax, which was $63.28. If approved, the tax levy would be about $11 million dollars, an increase from last year of $370,581, or 3.27 percent.
The $20,436,987 budget was assured to be the most effective and cost-saving budget the town could produce, according to the trustees.
“I think we can all agree that this is the lowest tax increase without reducing services,” Trustee Henry Tobin said at the public hearing. “A reduction of services would be cutting into the bone and muscle, not trimming the fat. It would be a palpable decrease in service.”
Throughout the hearing, village officials reiterated their efforts in working with various government officials to seek the most cost-effective measures to protect taxpayers.
“There has been a great effort from all the departments in the village to ensure efficiency,” Trustee Ian Milligan said at the meeting. “We researched many cost-saving methods.”
One of those methods that Milligan said he hopes will become more effective in 2016 is recycling. As commissioner of sanitation, Milligan said he is trying to urge more people to recycle.
“I want to encourage our neighbors to recycle more because it saves us a substantial amount of money,” he said. “We may be looking into enforcing this in the future because it is the law to recycle.”
Trustee Damon McMullen said the village is in a very strong position in part due to its A-plus bond rating.
“We have a better rating right now than Suffolk County,” McMullen said at the meeting. Suffolk currently has a bond rating of A according to Standard & Poor’s.
“We also did very well with the state comptroller’s stress test,” Tobin said during the meeting. “We have no stress because of our strong reserves, bond rating and success of our budgeting.”
Approximately $14 million of revenue was collected as of early December, most of which is made up by property taxes, sewer, state, county aid and grants. The estimated revenues for the next two months combined with the expenditures of this year make for an anticipated surplus of $232,998, according to the village’s budget presentation.
The board will vote on the proposed budget near the end of the fiscal year in February.