Proposal raises Hempstead budget, lowers taxes
Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray Tuesday will propose a $431.9 million fiscal 2014 budget that she said would slightly reduce taxes for the town's homeowners.
The spending plan would be a 3 percent increase from this year's $419.4 million budget, but the tax levy would be reduced by about $1.2 million, to $261 million, town records state.
For the owner of a home valued at about $250,000, the town tax bill -- which makes up about 9 percent of the total property tax bill -- would be reduced to $843 from $845 a year, town spokesman Mike Deery said.
"I've listened to neighbors who are struggling," Murray said in a statement. "My administration cares and we've responded in a way that few other local governments have."
The town has a larger budget but smaller tax levy in part because it anticipates an uptick in revenue in the coming year, Michael Capobianco, the town's auditing executive, said.
The town expects revenue to grow from an expected $128.1 million in 2013 to an expected $139.7 million in 2014, Capobianco said. Three of the areas where the town is gaining revenue are sales tax, mortgage tax receipts and refuse fees, he said.
Sale taxes are expected to grow to $40.5 million from $35.7 million, mortgage tax receipts to $17.8 million from $15.3 million, and refuse fees to $14.8 million from $13.2 million, Capobianco said. Those revenue streams have been trending upward for two years, he said.
"We're certainly hopeful for a healing economy," Deery said. "We're seeing modest gains."
Deery said the proposal would budget for the use of $31.2 million in reserves, up from $29.1 million this year. The town began this year with about $120 million in reserves, he said, adding that the town does not expect to use all of the budgeted amount this year or next.
Felix Procacci, who is running against Murray for supervisor, said it is disingenuous of the town to budget for the use of more reserves than it needs.
"That's unfortunate because the residents don't know what's really going on," he said.
The town board could adopt the preliminary budget Tuesday. Two public hearings on the spending plan would be held at 2:30 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 15. A budget must be approved by Nov. 20 under state law.