Great Neck Plaza 2019 budget calls for big infrastructure spending

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The Great Neck Plaza Board of Trustees passed a $7.3 million budget on Wednesday night, which features money for road paving and infrastructure upgrades. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Plaza)
The Great Neck Plaza Board of Trustees passed a $7.3 million budget on Wednesday night, which features money for road paving and infrastructure upgrades. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Plaza)

Great Neck Plaza approved a $7.3 million budget that stays under the tax cap and would invest more than $1 million into infrastructure on Wednesday night, including a transportation enhancement project and increased investment in road paving.

The budget is 2.29 percent higher than the previous budget, increasing $163,871 from $7.14 million. Great Neck Plaza, however, only expended $4.55 million for 2018 according to the budget and $6.14 million in 2017.

Property tax revenue is slated to go up from $3.01 million to $3.13 million, or $121,679, making up a plurality of the village’s income. This is also a 4.03 percent overall increase.

Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender said that increase is under the tax cap because the village was able to carry over some balance from previous years when it stayed under the tax cap.

Overall, the village expects a $241,092 increase in aid, up from $1.3 million to $1.54 million based on obtaining $300,000 in community development funds and a $100,000 multi-modal grant from the state.

From permits and meters, the village is also budgeting for nearly $1.1 million worth of revenue from permits and meters – or about $15,000 more than the $1.08 million budgeted in 2018.

The next largest revenue source would be fines and forfeited bail at $700,000, which is unchanged from 2018.

The biggest line item on the budget is the village’s transportation enhancement project for Welwyn and Shoreward roads that will feature a mid-block raised crosswalk, circular intersection, a plaza near the post office, and other features.

The village budgeted about $1.04 million for it in 2019 – it spent $50,220.39 last year on the project. Celender said they now hope the project, to be done by J. Anthony Enterprises for $993,674.40, will be done in June.

Great Neck Plaza must first spend the money to be mostly reimbursed via a federal transportation enhancement grant, village officials previously said. The village, which budgeted receiving $726,160 from the federal grant in 2018, is now budgeted to receive $675,940.

As part of the village’s state of good repair project, it plans to spend $568,000 this year to repave more Plaza roads. The $230,000 planned increase from the $347,000 budgeted in 2018 stems from the receipt of state grants, Celender said.

“So we’ve got a lot of roadwork being done,” Celender said.

The budget also allocates for the continued upgrade of lights to LED, Celender said, as the village has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Celender said that the budget currently operates under the assumption that Great Neck Plaza will still receive about $65,000 in aid to municipalities – or AIM – funding from the state. While it seems like a small amount, she said they plan to fight to retain it so they do not have to look at areas to cut in the budget.

“We try really hard to stay under the tax cap,” Celender said.

The village is also budgeting for $250,000 in building permit fees rather than $350,000 because 5-9 Grace Ave. is complete, a residential dwelling at 15 Bond Street is under construction, and there is uncertainty on the applications the village will get, Celender said.

“We do have a number of developers that are interested, but we don’t know where these processes will take us,” Celender said.

In unrelated village business, Great Neck Plaza trustees authorized the purchase of a 2019 Ford F350 with a plow package and lift gate from the state marketplace for $34,855.48. This is to replace a 20-year-old truck public works truck, they said.

Trustees also moved to remove 20 parking meters in the Maple Drive parking garage and replace them with permit parking in an effort to “whittle down” a waiting list for parking there.

Additionally, trustees also passed a resolution applauding the Great Neck Park District’s new shuttle-sharing service Buzz for trying to reduce stress on parking lots and congestion.

There was also a discussion about people fishing out checks set to be mailed, but no action taken.

A public hearing regarding regulations on telecommunication towers, antennas, and related communication facilities was also continued to Feb. 6. Village attorney Richard Gabriele said they plan to add provisions to current telecommunication laws now rather than creating a new set of laws.

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