The Lindenhurst Village board on Tuesday night approved a budget with an 8.5 percent tax hike.
The unanimously approved 2016-17 budget raises spending by 4.3 percent over last year, from $12,069,860 to $12,584,855. The tax rate rises 8.5 percent, from $16.16 to $17.53 per $100 of assessed valuation. For the average home assessed at $4,000, residents will pay an additional $54 in taxes. The sanitation costs for a single-family house remain the same, at $202.
It was the village’s second attempt at a budget after officials last week unveiled a proposed version with a 11.8 percent tax increase. That budget’s $734,000 rise in spending was largely the result of an increase in the fire and rescue protection portion, which was $490,510 more than the previous budget, including a request for $287,400 for vehicle repair and maintenance, up nearly 87 percent from the previous year.
The village board and Mayor Tom Brennan rejected that budget, vowing to reach out to the fire department to find compromises.
On Tuesday night, Brennan commended the fire department for its cuts from that initial budget number, slashing their portion of the spending increase to $270,730. The vehicle repair and maintenance line came in at $201,400, a 31 percent increase over last year.
On Tuesday, after a public hearing on the proposed budget that was attended by a half dozen residents, Brennan acknowledged that the $54 increase is a “considerable amount” for residents.
“I’m not happy about it, but we’ve got to live with it,” he said of the budget, which pierces the 0.73 percent state tax cap.
Village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane pointed to increases in insurance and salary costs as well as the continued loss of mortgage tax revenue as reasons for the tax increase. He said the village is struggling to stay under the tax cap because of unfunded mandates from the state and county.
But, Cullinane said, the village is in good shape. He noted the community’s quality of life, with “great parks and lots of facilities” as well as extensive fire protection, which he said can lower insurance costs, as some of the trade-offs for the tax increase.
“We’re in good, sound, financial condition, and that’s something that helps the residents across the board,” he said.