Residents of the village of Malverne could see a 2.8 percent increase in their taxes next year if the board approves the latest version of the 2011-2012 budget.
Mayor Patricia Norris McDonald and the village trustees presented the tentative figures Wednesday during an open public hearing at Village Hall. They shared the budget that Trustee and Budget Officer Joseph Hennessy had brought before the board on March 18.
McDonald explained that the latest draft represents expenditures of $14,371,421, a drop in spending of $121,371 from last year.
“This was accomplished through the efforts of all departments who were asked to present a zero or less budget increase,” McDonald said.
Most of the village departments were able to accomplish this task.
There were a few exceptions though. The library, for example, is slated to receive an extra 6.54 percent in funds transferred to its budget. While the police department held the line for most of its expenses including overtime and even made some double-digit cuts in other areas, necessary repairs and supplies led to a 0.23 percent overall increase in department’s budget. This includes an extra $4,000 for repairs to its vehicles and equipment, $1,000 more for building repair and maintenance and an additional $1,000 for shooting supplies. Also added to the police budget was $200 for computer software and upgrades and $3,000 for the lease and maintenance of a copy machine.
The fire department came in with a 1.37 percent decrease in its budget despite the fact that the cost of annual medical exams rose 62.5 percent and the purchase and cleaning of new bunker gear was added in.
The Planning Board’s budget was slashed by over 70 percent. Street maintenance, playgrounds and recreation, emergency management and safety inspection all took cuts too, while the Assessment department saw a 1.12 percent bump in its expenses caused by a $1,000 increase in tax certiorari legal fees, $100 more for processing tax bills and the addition of $1,400 in taxes due on the property adjacent to Grossmann’s Farm that the village acquired.
Rising technology costs and utility bills were also factors. The village is budgeting an additional 12.5 percent for Internet service across all departments and 33 percent for the its Web site, an extra 5.88 percent for cell phones and telephone maintenance and anywhere from six to 10 percent for water, gas and electric.
Insurance costs related to the Malverne train station jumped nearly 20 percent while workers compensation insurance for the fire department rose over 20 percent. Retirement was another big cost driver as the village’s contribution to state retirement programs escalated 40.55 percent and police retirement expenses rose 22.54 percent.
The village also increased the budget lines for snow removal by 11 percent, adding an extra $5,000 each for overtime and materials/supplies.
The village also invested in fun too - allocating an extra $400 for youth board trips and activities and $500 more for its holiday lighting celebration.
Of the village’s total operating expenses, $11,977,166 will be funded through taxes while $2,394,555 will be paid by other revenue sources.
“Our revenue sources were greatly affected this year with a drop of $332,576 from areas that are beyond our control such as the cut in state aid, elimination of the Nassau County sales tax, the drop in interest rates and the drastic reduction in the mortgage tax,” McDonald said, also adding grant opportunities to the list.
They were able to make some gains on the revenue side through the franchise contract the village sign with Cablevision, public safety permits, fees and programs and licenses such as those for plumbing and electrician work. The solid waste contract and cardboard recycling program is also expected to boost revenue while lowering expenses.
“The board has been faced with the difficult challenge of providing the lowest possible tax increase to our residents while maintaining the services that you have come to know and rely upon,” McDonald said.
The village is projected to en this year with a surplus of $500,000 which it intends to use to offset some of the expenses next year too, she added.
She reminded residents and the board that for now, the budget is still a work in progress, but if the current draft is adopted come April 21 the projected tax rate will be $52.28 per $100 of assessed valuation, which equates to a 2.8 percent rise in taxes.
Copies of the tentative budget are available to see residents at Village Hall.
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