Longtime Amityville Clerk Diane Sheridan will depart, and road repaving will be cut back under a revised spending proposal the village budget officer unveiled this week.
The $15.4 million proposed budget, up 2.6 percent from last year, would rely on a property tax increase of 1.5 percent, which is within the state-mandated tax levy cap and would qualify homeowners for a tax-freeze check from the state. The tax rate would be $34.64 per $100 of assessed value.
Part spreadsheet, part public relations, the 17-page document also outlines potential savings budget officer Nick LaLota says would be achievable by abolishing the Amityville Police Department or by pursuing a middle course of concessions from the police union, which LaLota has long advocated.
The spending proposal puts the 2015-16 cost of the village's police department at $7.3 million, compared with $3.8 million village taxpayers would pay for police coverage from the county.
A taxpayer in a $375,000 home would pay $1,657 for Amityville police coverage versus $872 for coverage through the county, according to the draft.
"We can keep our own Village PD and not pay through the nose doing so," it says. If the police union agreed to concessions requested by the administration of Mayor James Wandell, the average home would receive a $480 tax cut. Those concessions include a freeze on base pay for officers making more than $150,000 a year and restaffing a desk job filled by officers with a civilian.
"Residents should know how much extra service costs so they can evaluate if the service is worth it and join the conversation of urging the union to give concessions to taxpayers," LaLota said in an interview.
"Once again, the current administration walked away from negotiations," Chris Mullin, president of the union, the Amityville Police Benevolent Association, said. "They look to demonize the hardworking members of the Amityville Police Department and distort the truth."
Amityville residents have voted to maintain a local police force, and the PBA has significant local support, including Suffolk County Legis. DuWayne Gregory, who wrote in an email last night that residents value the local department in part because of its quick response times.
Earlier drafts of the budget, which must be adopted by April 27, called for $16.2 million in spending. The draft would consolidate the positions of clerk and treasurer, a move LaLota said would save $50,000 a year.
Sheridan -- appointed early in former Mayor Peter Imbert's administration -- would be replaced with a person LaLota described as a village resident with a background in business.
The latest spending plan would also devote $500,000 instead of $1 million to road repairs next year. That would cover two quarter-mile stretches, but officials have not decided where repairs would be made.
The plan drew praise from some in the audience at Monday night's village board meeting, but a lukewarm review from trustee Kevin Smith. "It falls a little short of my expectations as far as paying down debt," he said. "It's great that we're saving on taxes and are starting to rebuild the village a little."