Kings Point OKs fourth property tax cut in budget

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Kings Point Village Hall.

The Village of Kings Point approved a $17.48 million budget, which includes the fourth consecutive property tax decrease, at a board meeting last Thursday night as well as a contract to construct a passive park for photography and nature observation along East Shore Road.

Overall, the budget is about $180,681, or 1.04 percent, higher than the current $17.3 million budget. The vast majority of the budget, or $15.21 million, comes from property taxes.

The property tax rate decreased from $39.23 per $100 assessed value to $39.18 per $100 assessed value, according to the budget, but the taxable assessed valuation rose from just shy of $38.12 million to $38.82 million – a difference of $703,156, or 1.84 percent.

Consequently, property tax revenue is projected to increase from just under $14.96 million to $15.21 million.

“This is our fourth year of a reduction in our tax rate,” Kings Point Mayor Michael Kalnick said. “The Board of Trustees has worked very diligently and hard to accomplish that, especially in light of substantial increased costs and unfunded mandates put upon us by the state of New York.”

Public safety still dominates the budget, with police department salaries and benefits making up 49 percent of spending and fire and ambulance services accounting for another 10 percent, according to a budget overview.

Overall, trustees are budgeting $6.38 million for police department salaries – a $140,900 dip from the current $6.52 million, or a difference of 2.16 percent.

Kings Point is also budgeting $1.25 million toward police retirements, $255,000 toward Social Security, $275,000 for Worker’s Compensation, $10,000 for life insurance, $51,000 for dental insurance and $200,000 worth of termination pay, and $915,000 toward health insurance.

Kalnick, the mayor of Kings Point, previously told Blank Slate Media that having a local police department brings many benefits and that salaries are determined through negotiations between the village and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

“The residents of Kings Point benefit from around-the-clock police patrols and protection, resulting in an extremely effective deterrent against crime and an average response time of less than two minutes,” Kalnick said of the salary outlays. “Residents benefit from more personal interaction with members of the department, such as the ability to notify the police if they are going out of town for an extended period.”

About $1.44 million is budgeted for Alert Fire Company’s fire services to the village, about $100,000 more than they project to have spent in the 2018-19 budget. Fire hydrant rentals are expected to be $160,000.

The rest of the budget goes toward a combination of tree removal, transportation management, home and community services, the building department and other services.

Trustees also voted to award a $200,699 contract to HPC Landscaping, the lower of two bidders, to create a passive park off East Shore Road.

Trustees had adopted a resolution about two years ago authorizing the village to acquire waterfront land on Manhasset Bay via eminent domain so they could create a six-acre passive park for village residents to use.

The bids were initially opened on March 4, but trustees held off on approval at their last meeting so Kris Torkan, the newest trustee for Kings Point, could review the project.

“We want to move forward with this to open up the beautiful vistas that we have along East Shore Road,” Kalnick said at Thursday’s meeting.

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