Tentative Islandia budget raises taxes
The Islandia village board approved a tentative $2.7 million budget that raises taxes to 1.62 percent from 0.94 percent -- a 72 percent increase that pierces the state tax cap limiting yearly increases.
The board approved piercing the cap in a separate vote in the summer, Mayor Allan Dorman said. The tax increase means the average owner of a home assessed at $40,000 will see a $22 monthly increase in taxes.
Dorman said the hike was necessary because of declining revenue from tax assessments and the loss of traffic ticket revenue to Suffolk County. "We're down $270,000, and we're not done with the year," he said of the lost ticket revenue.
Suffolk County's restructured traffic violations bureau took income from the village near exits 57 and 58 on the Long Island Expressway. The village used to receive a percentage of fees from violations issued on that stretch of the LIE because the cases were heard in Islandia's traffic court, but the county has taken over the cases.
The sole resident at a budget hearing last week about the increase, retired bank lender Rosemary Speciale, said she was disappointed in the lack of public participation. "I really think we need our community to gather," she told the board.
In October, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported Islandia is running critically low on cash reserves. Dorman responded that the comptroller's report did not account for the fact that the 3,200 residents of the 2.4-square mile village are not taxed for sanitation services.
After the budget hearing, Speciale praised DiNapoli's focus on village finances.
"It looks like his idea of rating communities and municipalities is really great. It sounds like he's looking to help," she said. "We want the neighborhood to be successful and happy. We want to keep going in the right direction."
The board plans to hold a final vote on the budget at its Nov. 26 work session.