Southold's supervisor has proposed a 2016 budget that will lower spending in the North Fork town by 0.7 percent and forgo police hires in order to adhere to a record-low tax cap.
Scott Russell's $42.9 million spending plan includes money for one police officer to replace a retiring officer, and a new code-enforcement officer who would focus on fire codes, according to a statement from the supervisor's office.
Russell's budget puts off plans to hire four additional police officers for the town's 51-officer force. Russell told Newsday last month he wanted to hire five officers total next year, but was unlikely to, due to the state's lowest-ever tax cap: 0.73 percent.
The town board hired eight officers last year, increasing the department's ranks to 52.
The 2016 spending plan also calls for the creation of two part-time positions: a youth bureau director and a wildlife management coordinator.
Russell could not be reached for comment Monday. In a statement attached to his budget, he said "Southold is in good fiscal shape" despite "escalating costs of medical insurance, retirement obligations and the general costs associated with providing services."
The supervisor's budget, while lowering spending by $300,611, would increase the amount of money raised in taxes by 0.54 percent. The spending plan is subject to approval by the town board.
This is the first budget round in which the state's cap on tax-levy increases has fallen below 1 percent since the cap was instituted in 2012.