The Town of North Hempstead held a public hearing Monday night on the 2018 budget, which moved from “tentative” to “preliminary,” the final step before the budget is approved.
At this stage, the total budget is $103.3 million, although that number is subject to change before the final budget is voted on on Nov. 1. The budget for the current year is $102.5 million.
The general fund accounts for $66.9 million of the 2018 total, down by about $300,000 from the current year.
About $36.4 million would go toward the budget for the Town Outside Village fund, which is over a $1 million increase from last year. That increase is mostly due to an increase in spending on highways, yards and garages. The fund covers services provided by the town outside incorporated villages.
As for taxes, there was no definitive answer on whether they would increase. Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth promised that any increase would remain under the state tax cap. Trottere said there likely would be a slight increase but could not say how much because parts of the budget still needed to be ironed out.
“I believe that we will have a new collective bargaining agreement by the time we vote on the budget,” Bosworth said. “So again, I ask for your patience because some labor related questions have to be deferred until the agreement is finalized.”
The budget also calls for the funding of unfilled positions in the town government so that if these positions are filled over the course of the year, it won’t “blow the budget up,” according to Trottere.
Bosworth also noted the town’s strong financial standing, saying that North Hempstead had received an Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service, the highest possible rating.
After Bosworth’s comments, the hearing was dominated by Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio, who questioned Comptroller Averil Smith about how the budget was calculated. She said she felt the administrative fees that residents pay toward the Town Outside Village fund were not being correctly calculated and residents were being charged too much relative to services rendered.
A hearing on the preliminary budget will be held on Tuesday at 7 p.m. It will be the final public hearing before the Town Board votes on the budget.