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Ocean Beach board to weigh budget
The Village of Ocean Beach’s draft of a $6 million budget for 2012-13 includes a state tax cap-busting 4.9 percent property tax levy increase — though clerk-treasurer Steven Brautigam said Wednesday he thinks that number will be ratcheted down.
The board of trustees will hold a public hearing on the budget Saturday at noon at the village boat house.
The tax hike is the result of increasing costs, Brautigam said, and a $300,000 emergency repair to the village’s crumbling docks in late 2011.
“There was an understanding that we would have to raise taxes to replenish some of that,” he said, adding that the village has about $1 million in its general fund.
Brautigam said he, Mayor James Mallott and the four board members went back and forth for weeks about raising taxes. Brautigam proposed a 10.5 percent tax increase to recover the $300,000 in one year, but the mayor and the board chose to reduce the increase and make payments over time.
Such unanimous agreement “is better for everyone and shows a functioning, committed board that can work together and accomplish things quickly,” Brautigam said.
The proposed budget, which must be approved by April 28 and will go into effect June 1, increases expenses by 14 percent; Brautigam said the recently negotiated Fire Island Ferries contract helped offset a further tax hike because the ferry company could end up paying 89 percent more in rent to the village if passenger projections hold true.
Ocean Beach also will save money by indefinitely closing its bay beach, which has become dangerous because of wakes from passing boats and ferries, said Brautigam, adding he also hopes to get raises for some of the village’s 18 full-time employees.
The proposed budget is available on the village’s website, villageofoceanbeach.org.