Proposed East Hills budget keeps taxpayer contribution stable

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The Village of East Hills pool. (Photo courtesy Village of East Hills)

The East Hills Board of Trustees will vote on the proposed $13.1 million budget on April 23, a budget that represents the ninth consecutive year with no increase in taxpayer contributions, said Mayor Michael Koblenz.

The budget is nearly a mirror of last year’s, the mayor said, with the total figure being a 0.5 percent decrease.

“It’s a fiscally responsible budget, and it doesn’t cut services and provides the residents with everything that they receive now,” Koblenz said. “Repair of the roads, sanitation, security – all those things are going to continue.”

At the village’s public hearing on the budget Monday, those in attendance clapped when he announced that taxes would remain frozen, Koblenz said.

Cliff Lewisohn, a member of the village’s Architectural Review Board who has worked in the title insurance business for 35 years, said he only ever sees taxes going up in the area, with East Hills being the exception.

“Compared to Nassau County and just about everybody else that I deal with, that’s a rarity,” said Lewisohn, who has lived in the village for 26 years. “In spite of the fact that the taxes have been frozen the services, don’t suffer.”

Employee benefits represent 19 percent of the tentative budget at $2.44 million. Last year they were 18 percent.

Most other categories also only changed by a margin of 1 percent.

Expenses for streets, including services such as snow plows and tree maintenance, are budgeted at $1.78 million. The village park, which Koblenz said is what makes East Hills unique, would get $1.27 million.

“You have the tennis courts, a pool the basketball courts … all those things are available to the residents at no cost,” Koblenz said. “It’s all included in their village tax.”

Koblenz and the Board of Trustees are planning to build an indoor athletic complex in the park in coming years but are not setting aside funds for that project in the 2019-20 budget. That will likely happen the following year, Koblenz said.

The first step toward building the complex will be clearing space for it. Demolition of a decrepit Air National Guard building on a hill in the park is slated to start April 22.

In anticipation of summer, the village pool will be repainted and all of the lounge chairs, which are over a decade old, will be replaced in the coming months.

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