North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth has proposed a $135.2 million town budget for 2020 that will increase the General Fund tax levy by 1.3%. She said it will not cut any public services.
“This budget reflects the collective effort of our commissioners and department heads as well as our finance team who crafted a budget that once again will stay under the tax cap,” she said in a news release.
The proposed budget includes $69.3 million in the General Fund, $38.3 million for the Town Outside Village expenses and $27.7 million for the 20 special districts operated by the town. The proposed total will be roughly $2 million more than this year’s finalized budget of $133 million.
The General Fund saw minimal changes from the previous year, the most notable being a 1% increase for the Department of Parks and Recreation. The proposal calls for total spending of $17,727,161 for the department, an increase of $309,242.
Town Outside Village expenses, which center around services such as public works and traffic safety provided to residents who live outside incorporated villages, increased by $1,079,160 from the previous year. Half of that is a result of a $573,102 increase for the Highway Department.
“The new budget continues to hold the line on spending and I commend our commissioners for working with our dedicated finance team to make this budget happen,” Bosworth said. “I am committed to responsibly providing town residents with the services they deserve.”
During a Town Board meeting last Thursday, Bosworth thanked those who were “instrumental” in developing and preparing the proposed budget. She also touched on how the town and its board must remain fiscally prudent while providing “excellent service” to its residents.
“I continue to acknowledge the hard work of our town’s comptroller, Tania Orenstein, as well as the entire budget team,” Bosworth said. “We will continue to work hard to make sure our finances are managed well, and that we provide the services to the public, while still living within our means.”
In March, the town received its fourth consecutive Aaa bond rating, the highest one, from Moody’s Investors Service. The company provided the town with a rating outlook that reflected the town’s conservative fiscal management practices, according to Moody’s website.
“The town has received a Aaa bond rating, just reaffirmed this month, because of our conservative and careful guardianship of taxpayer funds,” Bosworth said.
She also mentioned the town’s exemplary fiscal stress score of 1.7%, an improvement since the office of the New York state comptroller’s last recorded score of 5% in 2017. The system, put in place by the office in 2013, gauges early warning signs of fiscal stress for local governments and school districts.
“To put it in perspective,” she explained, “Nassau and Suffolk counties usually finish with stress scores around 70%. While they are bigger entities, it is still wonderful to see how on top of our budget and fiscal conservation we are, and strive to continue to be.”
The next public hearing for the budget will be on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m., with the tentative budget scheduled to be voted on by the council members on Wednesday, Oct. 30.