The Village of Thomaston passed a $2.19 million budget for 2018-19 on Monday night that keeps tax rates flat for the ninth year in a row and increases the budget by about $73,000, or 3.45 percent, through a combination of reserve funds and surpluses from previous years.
Village officials described the newly approved budget, for the period from March 1, 2018, to Feb. 28, 2019, as a product of long-term planning, eliminating unnecessary expenses and having a lean but efficient staff doing in-house work.
“One other thing that [Mayor Steve Weinberg] didn’t mention: the village is debt free, which is extremely unusual, and we haven’t raised taxes in nine years,” Deputy Mayor James Sharkey said. “So this is actually a phenomenally tight run show, largely due to the mayor’s direction and the hard work of the staff. There’s no question about it.”
Weinberg said the village plans to repave Lee Avenue for about $100,000, the cost of which will be shared with the owner of a newly constructed office building at the corner of Northern Boulevard and Lee Avenue. The village also intends to repave part of Gilchrest Road due to utility work by National Grid, which has reimbursed the village for the work.
Weinberg also said the village may need to replace two trucks and extra money went to replace the crack sealer that fixes the roads.
Thomaston is also awaiting $150,000 in state aid, primarily applicable to roads and signs. The three grants, worth $50,000 each, would be applied to repaving the Village Hall parking lot, upgrading Village Hall and adding speed radar signs.
Most of the money – $1.48 million – is expected to come from general property taxes. The rest of it comes from about $664,000 worth of state aid, reserves, fund balance money, permit fees and other sources, as well as a fire tax that accounts for $46,648.
This marks a $66,000 increase from the $598,000 in the 2017-18 adopted plan and is more than double what was originally expected in 2014-15, according to a draft copy of the proposed budget. Thomaston, however, has also consistently received more money than it was projected to get.
The biggest chunk of the budget comes from public safety costs, which decrease $14,720 from $807,220 in the current budget to $792,500 in the 2018-19 budget. These items include street administration and maintenance, code and safety enforcement, snow removal and street lighting.
Home and community services will rise from $551,500 in the current budget to $582,500. This mostly comes from a garbage disposal contract with the Town of North Hempstead, which runs through 2020, going up $13,000 from $350,500 to $363,500 and street cleaning service costs rising $18,000 from $146,000 to $164,000.
“They have increases in their costs to run that facility, so then they’re passing it on to every single municipal user of their facility,” Weinberg said. “Honestly, that’s been one of the significant factors as to why we have that increase.”
General government support, which includes the clerk-treasurer’s office, shared building expenses and other special items like the refunding of taxes, will increase $59,500 from $460,700 to $520,200, or 12.9 percent.
Employee benefits, including state retirement, Social Security, workers compensation, medical and dental insurance, unemployment insurance and state disability costs are budgeted to cost $198,300 in the 2018-2019 budget. This is an increase of $6,455.