Village of Great Neck approves $9.85 million 2016-17 budget

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Village of Great Neck trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the village’s 2016-17 budget, which calls for about $9.83 million in spending — a 4.3 percent decrease from the current year’s budget.

While spending decreased, the village plans to exceed the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap with a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy for the fiscal year, which runs from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017.

Village trustees approved a bill last month that gives them the authority to override the tax cap.

“We’re trying to keep it to the minimum and we will try to keep it as low as possible,” Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral said. “With all of the costs that have happened over the past few years, this was inevitable to increase by 2.5 percent.”

The budget calls for $7,197,711 to be raised by property taxes — $175,554 more than the current year’s budget.

Village Clerk-Treasurer Joe Gill said the assessed values of homes in the village had increased by about 5 percent from last year.

The average home was assessed at about $813,000, he said, up from last year’s average of $773,000.

Gill also said the increase in taxes will see taxpayers pay an average of $80 more in the upcoming fiscal year.

The almost $440,000 decrease in spending, Gill said, was caused by a $200,000 reduction in payroll, $200,000 in reduced operating expenses and about $40,000 from the village’s debt service fund because it has not borrowed any money over the past two years.

Bral said the board was focused on cutting village costs as well as improving the village’s information technology.

“We worked very hard with the board in the meetings. We had to really evaluate, and re-evaluate in the past few months since we came on board, to mainly try and concentrate our efforts to cutting costs and start to sort of invest into our IT,” he said.

Bral said the village is in the early stages of going paperless, with trustees now using computers rather than paper for meeting files, and the village is updating its website to become more user-friendly.

The budget calls for about $1.13 million, or 11.5 percent of total revenues, to be collected in anticipated fees and fines.

Prior to the budget hearing, the board delivered a proclamation to resident Erin Lipinsky for his efforts raising money for the 12th Annual Town of North Hempstead Polar Plunge, which raises money for Special Olympics New York.

Bral said Lipinsky raised the most money of all contributors at about $4,000.

“He has worked very hard to raise a lot of money for the Special Olympics,” he said. “This is signed by all of the board members so it is a very special proclamation.”

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