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Hempstead Village approves budget, 6 percent water rate hike

Hempstead Village's overall budget for 2018-19 is $82.8

Hempstead Village's overall budget for 2018-19 is $82.8 million. Credit: Raychel Brightman

The Hempstead Village board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to pass the village’s 2018-2019 budget and increase the water rates by 6 percent.

While the village’s tax levy remains unchanged from last year, at $62.7 million, homeowners’ tax rate will increase and they will pay on average an additional $1.79 a month, a total of about $22 over the year, village Treasurer Raymond Calame said.

The overall budget is $82.8 million and officials used part of the village’s reserves and fund balance to keep the tax levy flat.

The village’s assessments declined due to commercial and residential tax grievances, so officials were forced to make up those refunds “over everybody else” through the increased tax rate, Calame said.

Individual department budgets largely stayed the same as last year’s budget.

“We wanted everybody held as flat as possible, and for the most part they did,” Calame said.

Salaries for exempt and Civil Service employees increased by 2 percent and police officers’ salaries went up 2.5 percent, which is stipulated in their contracts. The mayor, deputy mayor and trustees did not receive salary hikes.

The board also Tuesday approved an increase in the village’s water rates by 6 percent. Homeowners will see an increase of between $24 and $36 over the 2018-2019 fiscal year per house, Calame said.

Less water is being used, he said, so the village needs to raise rates in order to make up the difference to cover fixed costs.

“There seems to be more conservation,” he said.

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