North Hempstead is projecting $3 million in savings over the next four years, town officials have reported to the state.
The town, in its Efficiency Report, is working to make sure its residents are eligible for tax rebates under the state's Property Tax Freeze Credit Initiative. An efficiency report must demonstrate savings achieved through efficiencies or shared services of at least 1 percent of the overall tax levy.
Officials said they have searched across many town departments for the $3.458 million in savings.See also2013 North Hempstead payrolls
"We're living in a tax cap era, which has very successfully kept tax increases down," North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in an interview. "We haven't reduced services, and I'd like to think we'd be looking for this whether it was part of a plan or not."
Among the major savings, the town did not hire a new commissioner of the Department of Services for the Aging after its commissioner resigned last year for a new job. Instead, the commissioner of the Community Services department has led both agencies. Not hiring a replacement saved the town $144,000 for a year's salary and associated fringe benefits, officials said.
Bosworth said having one commissioner leading both departments is "working well."
The town also renegotiated its sanitation contract for $230,000 in savings in 2015; hired a private company to manage its fleet of auto parts, for $61,500 in savings in 2015; and brought more legal work in-house, for $363,000 in savings this year.
The town attorney's staff is "doing more with what we have," Bosworth said. The town also combined the positions of public safety and public parking commissioners, for $20,000 in savings.
Bosworth said the town is also willing to work with villages within the town to find ways for savings, citing existing agreements.
"Our caveat is we're not going to share services if it costs us" additional money, Bosworth said. "We understand the burden that high taxes are to residents and we want to do whatever we can to not contribute anything to that."