Mastic Beach adopts budget; village property taxes to stay flat

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The Mastic Beach Village board of trustees on Tuesday night formally adopted a $4.3 million budget two weeks after nearly doing so at an improperly scheduled meeting.

The 2014-15 spending plan decreases the total municipal tax levy and freezes village property taxes.

The new budget is $185,000 more than last year's $4.15 million budget, but the average homeowner's tax bill remains the same at $533, which includes $300 for trash pickup.

This year's budget decreases the total municipal tax levy by $23,000 to $1.14 million, compared with last year, and it is under the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap. Mastic Beach has an estimated $1 million in surplus.

"Most of the residents who live down here are seniors and the last thing anybody wants is to raise taxes," Mayor Bill Biondi said after the meeting.

"Will taxes ever be raised? I'm sure at some time in life if you want to make this place better, you're going to have to raise taxes."

The board was moments away from adopting the budget on April 1 when it came to light that proper legal notice for the meeting hadn't been given. The meeting's notice did not inform residents that copies of the budget were available at the clerk's office as required by state law.

The notice also didn't list the compensation of the mayor and board.

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"From talking with other villages, nobody has ever followed that procedure, but I'm glad someone brought it to our attention cause that's the way we'll go from now on," Biondi said.

"We followed the same procedures for the last three years and no one questioned it," he added.

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Bellport recently canceled its budget meeting for not following similar protocol. It has been rescheduled.

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It was also discussed at the Mastic Beach budget meeting earlier this month that former village treasurer John Morris, who worked extensively on the budget, was amicably terminated from his job in a dispute over health insurance coverage. Morris could not be reached for comment.

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