Lindenhurst budget plan tops NY tax cap

The Village of Lindenhurst was founded by Thomas

The Village of Lindenhurst was founded by Thomas and Abbey Wellwood in 1870. The town had been known as Wellwood until that year, when it was named Breslau after the hometown of its German settlers. The village was renamed Lindenhurst in 1891 and became an incorporated village in 1923. (Credit: Alexi Knock, 2011)

Lindenhurst Village has released a preliminary budget that calls for a tax increase but no cuts to services.

The proposed 2013-14 budget increases from the current year by 2.61 percent from $10.87 million to $11.15 million. The tentative budget raises the tax rate by 3.48 percent, which translates to an increase of 49 cents per $100 of assessed home value. For the average home assessed at $3,500, taxes would increase $17.

The sanitation fee will remain at $202 per one-family home. No community services were cut, officials said.

The proposed budget pierces the state tax cap. Officials said this was necessary given rising pension and health care costs.

Village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane said the village's state tax cap is estimated at slightly over 2 percent.

"We couldn't keep up with what the state is recommending," Cullinane said, adding that pension costs alone have been increasing in the village at more than 2 percent per year.

To stay under the tax cap would mean severe cuts to services in the village, he said. "To comply with the law just doesn't work," Cullinane said.

The preliminary budget shows local pension fund costs rising 2.94 percent this year to $350,000 while state retirement costs are increasing 13.68 percent to $648,000.

Medical insurance costs are estimated to increase 10.37 percent to $1.44 million. Meanwhile, mortgage revenue is projected to continue to drop, next year slipping 7.94 percent to $290,000.

Cullinane said the village has tried to contain costs by obtaining concessions from union workers who are contributing more to their health care. "There's a lot of people giving on this end but we're not seeing it on the other end in what is being mandated by the state," he said.

Cullinane said it also remains to be seen how much the village will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Sandy-related damage. The village recently voted to bond for $2 million to pay for storm damage.

The tentative budget is available for review at Village Hall. A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

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