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North Hempstead budget stays within cap, with adjustments

Town of North Hempstead is finalizing its 2016

Town of North Hempstead is finalizing its 2016 budget. Credit: Town of North Hempstead

The Town of North Hempstead presented its preliminary budget Tuesday and reaffirmed its dedication to staying within the state-imposed tax cap of 0.73 percent.

At a public hearing, newly appointed town comptroller Averil Smith and deputy supervisor Aline Khatchadourian fielded questions from the town board about the $102.27 million budget.

Smith said town officials identified and reduced noncritical spending and eliminated vacancies when possible.

"We're really looking line by line to see what can be cut," Khatchadourian said, adding that full-time positions would be replaced by part-time jobs, if feasible.

Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin said her office was making an effort to reduce costs by handling more matters in-house. The 2015 adopted budget of $101 million allots $225,000 for outside counsel. The 2016 tentative budget, however, estimates a $5,000 increase to $230,000.

The town proposes a $67,125,647 general fund budget and a $35,149,764 budget for its outside village fund, which serves constituents who live or own property outside the borders of incorporated villages. It includes road maintenance, building safety and inspection, community planning, snow plowing and more. Both budgets mark a slight decrease from the tentative measures presented in late September, which budgeted $67,326,908 for the general fund and $35,373,779 for the outside village fund.

"Whatever adjustments are made, the commitment is not to pierce the tax cap," Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. "I believe this budget shows fiscal restraint."

Some town commissioners spoke about their support for the preliminary budget. Parks Commissioner Jill Weber said she felt confident that the department could work with the budget, which she called realistic.

Superintendent of Highways Tom Tiernan stressed the importance of teamwork across the town's departments and said he thought the budget would work fine.

The next budget hearing is Tuesday. The board is scheduled to vote on a final budget on Oct. 29.


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