Plandome Heights property tax set to increase 3.5 percent under tentative budget

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The Plandome Heights Board of Trustees at a meeting in January, with Mayor Kenneth Riscica center. (Photo by Teri West)

The Village of Plandome Heights’ tentative budget includes a property tax increase of 3.5 percent, equivalent to about $37 more for the average resident, Mayor Kenneth Riscica said.

That is higher than recent annual increases but is still within the village’s tax cap, which is now 3.7 percent.

The increase is a preventative move, Riscica said.

With the potential elimination of state aid for municipalities like Plandome Heights under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget and state grants, the village is budgeting for a surplus by increasing revenue without increasing expenses, he said.

“We just think it’s the right long-term move, and to do it now without overriding the cap is the best plan,” the mayor said.

The tentative budget totals $478,300 and will apply to the fiscal year that begins June 1. It marks about a $10,000 increase from the budget for the current fiscal year that sits at $467,100.

Staying below the tax cap is a priority every year for the Board of Trustees, said Trustee Daniel Cataldo.

“We always want to stay within the guidelines that the government sets for us,” he said. “That is always our goal.”

Plandome Heights taxes are lower than levies in the Town of North Hempstead, Riscica and Cataldo pointed out.

“We have 30 volunteers that don’t get paid, including myself,” Riscica said. “In the town, they don’t have that. It’s too big. It’s too big to have volunteers.”

The village’s Board of Trustees passed the tentative budget Monday night and will hold a public hearing about it April 1, along with two other public hearings on village telecommunication and tree policies.

Village expenditures are set to increase by 1.5 percent under the current iteration of the budget, largely to account for a standard increase in sanitation costs, Riscica said.

Separately, the village board is interested in updating its telecommunications law to legislate about 5G wireless cellular technology in addition to 4G.

Other local villages and the Town of North Hempstead have recently been drafting similar legislation.

“The purpose from our perspective is to bring our law up to current standards,” Riscica said.

The Board of Trustees is also considering doing away with a policy that requires it to have a contractor evaluate its trees on village property every five years.

The village has been performing such evaluations annually with the help of Trustee Norman Taylor, who worked in forestry and the nursery business, Riscica said.

“We’re looking at the laws of other villages and find that our law is unique to us and probably is not required as a law since we’re doing it on an ongoing basis,” he said.

The purpose of such inspections is to review trees for potential health issues or public hazards, the mayor said.

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