The proposed Freeport Village budget for the coming year includes no tax increase for the fourth consecutive year, the mayor said.
Board of trustees members are to vote Jan. 9 on the tentative $71.2 million budget. Mayor Robert Kennedy presented it to the board on Dec. 19. Kennedy said he expects the budget to pass because the trustees have been involved in the process of developing it.
In previous years, residents faced village tax increases up to 16 percent, the mayor said Thursday.
The 2017-18 proposed budget runs through Feb. 28, 2018. The average village homeowner will pay $4,338 in village taxes.
The village’s reserve fund has increased to $9.5 million from $1.5 million in 2013. Kennedy said he expects the reserves to increase by another million dollars within a month.
The mayor said the budget has not cut services for residents or made any staff changes to achieve no tax increase. Instead, he said, the village has reduced expenses by eliminating bid feeds for contracts so more companies would participate and by applying for grants. Kennedy said Nassau County also paid for four new police cars for the village force and gave them a $125,000 grant toward the installation of license-plate-reader cameras around the village.
“If I can get four cars for free from the county, it’s saving the taxpayers money,” Kennedy said.
He said he believes the recent decrease in crime — due, in part, to the cameras and the addition of 18 police officers — has spurred economic development in the village. More people are moving into Freeport as it becomes safer, he said, and new businesses are coming into the village. That results in an increase in tax revenue for the village, he said, as well as additional funds from permit and building fees.