Town of North Hempstead adopts 2018 budget

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Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth smiles as she addresses one of the commissioners present at a board meeting. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Town Board members approved a town budget of about $103 million 6-1 on Wednesday night that features an increase in Town Outside Village Fund spending and a small decrease in general fund expenses.

The $103 million budget includes the general fund and the Town Outside Village Fund, which serves residents who live or own property outside of incorporated villages.

Tied together with this budget was the unanimous approval of a $16 million budget for the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority. Also listed on the budget were expenses for 20 town-operated special districts.

“The budget is a blueprint that reflects our priorities, the town’s priorities and the priorities of its residents,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at the meeting. “This budget is fiscally conservative while still maintaining the high level of service our taxpayers expect and deserve.”

General fund expenses total $66.95 million in the 2018 budget, a decrease of over $300,000 from 2017. Bosworth attributed this reduction to lower debt service payments because the town has lowered its debt by $32 million since 2013.

“It’s evidence that our conservative budget style is working,” Bosworth said.

The Department of Parks and Recreation makes up a quarter of the general fund’s operating expenses, with a budget of $16.57 million. Payment toward the town debt, worth $15.5 million for 2018, makes up 23 percent of the general fund’s expenses.

The Department of Human Resources is the third biggest expense, making up 18 percent of the general fund budget, or $12.15 million. This is $1.13 million higher than the 2017 budget, which currently allocates $11.02 million to the department.

Items primarily driving the increase are health benefit payments, which total $5.82 million versus $5.13 million in 2017 and state retirement payments of $2.82 million, which were $2.5 million in the 2017 budget.

The General Fund includes services and departments that service all of North Hempstead’s residents, both in incorporated villages and unincorporated areas. It is funded via property taxes by all residents and businesses in the town.

Overall, the tax levy for the general fund went up 1.44 percent. The town said that the average resident will see a $2.95 increase because of a “technical change concerning LIPA properties.”

The Town Outside Village Fund saw its budget increase by about $1.1 million from $35.2 million to $36.3 million, primarily to help fund new personnel, including a second deputy building commissioner. Seven people will join the Building Department, while three staff members are being added to the Highway Department.

“These additional personnel will help with the increased volume of business the Building Department has been experiencing,” Bosworth said.

The fund includes the Building Department, planning and environmental protection, which handle road maintenance, snow plowing, code enforcement, inspections and community planning.

Town representatives said this will translate to a property tax increase of $28.40 for the average household in the unincorporated areas of the town.

The budget also lists $26 million in special district expenses in the Town of North Hempstead, which address topics in specific areas like sidewalks, fire protection, parks, water and sewers, garbage pickup, libraries and parking.

The budget for the Clinton G. Martin Park District in New Hyde Park more than doubled from the 2017 budget, from $747,246 to $2.03 million. The 2018 budget is closer to the 2016 one, where the park district had a $1.73 million budget.

The principal and interest costs on serial bonds, listed under interfund transfers, are listed for $272,498 and $626,183, respectively. This in turn drives more than a third of the increase in budget.

It also allocates $235,000 for part-time and seasonal workers, which it didn’t do in 2017, and shows about $103,000 more in administrative charges.

Albertson Fire Protection District will have a $1.43 million budget, an approximate $38,000 increase from the 2017 budget.

Great Neck’s Fire Protection District, which includes both the Alert and Vigilant fire companies, budgeted $641,778 for 2018, a $9,000 decrease from 2017, according to the budget.

The Port Washington Fire Protection District’s adopted budget for 2018 is $2.14 million, or about $19,000 higher than 2017. This includes $1.479 million for the Port Washington Fire Department, $234,152 for the Port Washington Fire Medics and $216,559 for the Service Award Program.

Port Washington’s Public Parking District’s 2018 budget, meanwhile, is $1.27 million, compared with $1.16 million in the previous one.

Roslyn’s Fire Protection District’s adopted budget for 2018 totals $912,599. The two biggest line items are the Rescue Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1, with a budget of $370,177 and the Roslyn Highlands Fire Department for $359,442. Both experienced roughly $7,000 increases from the last budget.

The Albertson-Searingtown-Herricks Refuse and Garage District’s budget decreased from $2.82 million to $2.79 million.

The Great Neck Garbage and Refuse District increased from $923,075 to $973,871, mostly from a garbage removal contract increasing from $837,530 in 2017 to $890,000 for 2018.

Manhasset’s Garbage and Refuse District remained largely the same as last year with a $1.1 million budget.

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park-Floral Park Centre Garbage and Refuse District’s budget for 2018 is $2.68 million, an increase from $2.59 million this year.

Town of North Hempstead Lighting District’s budget for 2018 remains roughly the same at $2.19 million.

The Town of North Hempstead Sidewalk District’s budget was roughly the same at $3.38 million. The two biggest items were personal services, totaling $1.01 million, and interfund transfers worth $684,910.

Town officials approved $222,625 for Floral Park Centre Fire Protection District, a roughly $3,000 increase from last year.

Manhasset Bay Park District’s budget is $36,641 for 2018.

Great Neck Water District’s budget for 2018 crept up $544 to $53,050.

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