The Village of Great Neck Estates board unanimously adopted a $10.65 million budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year on Monday night, a 2.8 percent increase from the current year’s $10.36 million budget.
Despite difficulties in developing the budget due to the coronavirus, the tax levy increased by around 0.8 percent, to $8.21 million in 2021-22 from $8.13 million this year. The village’s fiscal year will begin on June 1.
The main source of the increases comes from the employee benefits section. This year, the village allocated $824,043 for the state’s police retirement fund compared with $565,000 the previous year.
Village Mayor William Warner said that ever since New York implemented a 2 percent property tax cap, the village has never pierced it, with this year being no exception.
Warner thanked Trustee Ira Ganzfried and village Administrator Kathleen Santelli for their “tireless work” in creating a budget that does not pierce the tax cap and saw minimal increases across the board.
“I really tip my cap to both of you for developing a budget with such a minimal tax increase in some uncertain times,” Warner told the two during the meeting.
The village will pay $341,598 toward debt. This is $8,887 less than the $350,485 in the current budget.
The village will also pay almost $1 million less for public safety, according to the budget.
On another issue, the trustees granted Lions Group NYC, the developers of the First Playhouse project, an additional 30 days to finish the demolition of the existing building.
Lions Group NYC will be required to pay $18 a day for the 30-day extension, which officials said will equate to roughly $450 total. Paul Bloom, of Harras, Bloom and Archer LLP, who is now representing the developer on the project, said demolition is 85 to 95 percent complete and could be done in approximately 21 days.
Various plans to renovate the historic building with a five-story, 20-unit, 35-bedroom mixed-use apartment complex have been presented by Lions Group NYC since 2017.
Warner and the board unanimously granted Lions Group NYC a two-month extension on obtaining demolition permits from the Building Department during a January 2020 board meeting after modified plans were presented.
In its heyday, the First Playhouse on Middle Neck Road showcased Broadway-bound plays and vaudeville acts starting in the mid-1920s, including the Marx Brothers and F. Scott Fitzgerald. United Artists bought the theater in the 1930s, but it closed in 1983.