A divided North Hempstead town board has approved a budget that pierces the state-imposed tax cap for the second year in a row.
The board voted 4-3 Tuesday to approve the budget for 2013 of $123,029,977, an increase of 4.8 percent over the current year's budget of $117,365,130.
The tax levy is $71,060,614, an increase of 4.1 percent over the current year's tax levy of $68,257,068.
The owner of a home valued at the town average of $458,400 and assessed at $1,146 would pay about $193 per year to the general fund, an increase of about $16, or 8.8 percent.
Councilmembers Dina De Giorgio and Angelo Ferrera, both Republicans, were joined by Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman in voting against the budget.
"We have an unusual split for our board," Kaiman, a Democrat, commented after casting his vote, prompting De Giorgio to ask if he was switching parties.
"No, no, a thousand times no," Kaiman replied.
Councilman Thomas Dwyer said the amendments were necessary, especially in light of the expenditures the town had to make after superstorm Sandy.
"I believe that it's prudent to build a contingency into the budget so we do not burden future years and future budgets," Dwyer said.
Kaiman later said he supported his original budget without the amendments, which added $254,238 to his budget and pushed it over the tax cap. He said, however, that if the amended budget hadn't passed, it would have led to "harsher consequences in terms of town personnel."
-- With Scott Eidler