Lake Success board approves budget, increases tax levy

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Lake Success Village Hall on a breezy spring evening. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Lake Success Board of Trustees unanimously passed a $18.6 million combined budget Monday night, increasing the tax levy to $9.7 million from $9.1 million.

The village budget is made up of the $14.75 million general fund, which is used for general expenses, the $3.05 million golf fund and the $803,488 sewer fund. The latter two funds do not affect the tax levy and operate independently.

“We’ve tried to cut our appropriations wherever we can and I think we’ve kept in line anything that’s under our control,” Mayor Adam Hoffman said during the public hearing. “I think we’ve done a great job trying to keep appropriations in line with where they were last year.”

The tax rate for residents increased from $4.70 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $5.02. A home valued at $1.7 million could expect a tax levy increase from about $8,900 to $9,380, officials said, while a $1.5 million home would see an increase from $7,730 to $8,125.

Paired with this was a law allowing the village to pass the state levy cap of 2 percent. The approved budget, officials said, exceeded the cap by less than 1 percent.

This year’s budget also features an increase in Police Department expenditures. The previous budget allocated 43.7 percent of the general fund toward police. This year, it’s $6,791,282, or 46.04 percent.

Mayor Adam Hoffman said this increase was due to mandated benefits and the full staffing of the department, but that expenses will plateau with future retirements and the hiring of younger people.

“In the end, I think we’ll start seeing a leveling off of our Police Department costs,” Hoffman said.

The village’s appropriated surplus also decreased from $1,400,000 to $940,000 because officials wanted to keep the fund balance near a recommended level of 17.5 percent.

The second biggest expenditure is debt service, with the village paying $2.034 million, 13.8 percent of the general fund. Public works make up 9.11 percent, or $1.344 million, and 6.6 percent goes towards various benefits.

The rest goes towards administration and finance, parks and recreation, personal services, garbage collection, insurance and other miscellaneous expenses.

The Board of Trustees also discussed potential changes to village parking regulations and expressed a need to improve Lake Success’s outreach on social media.

Jill Madenberg, a Lake Success resident and guidance counselor, called on the board to try to increase voter turnout for the May 16 vote for the Great Neck Board of Education, the public schools budget and bond referendum.

When asked about the importance of turning out to vote, Madenberg said in an interview that it was to defend public education.

“I think that we have lived in a community that always supports public education and the assumption is there,” she said. “We are a community that supports public education and now we need to come out and show that at the polls.”

The next public hearing is on May 8 for a law to amend Lake Success’s code regarding commercial vehicles.

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