Board trustees in New Hyde Park want to rent out the mostly unused William Gill Jr. Theater to outside organizations as part of a plan to generate $5,000 to add to the proposed village budget.
During a Tuesday budget hearing, Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said renting out the theater would create a new revenue stream for the village. The plan is to rent the space to anyone who wants to perform there, “whether it’s a theater company doing a play or someone who wants to put on a small concert,” Montreuil said.
“We haven’t really monetized that place very much and we want to this year,” he said. “It looks very nice and we haven’t made the most of it.”
The theater, named after former Mayor William Gill, underwent $150,000 in renovations in 2010 and reopened in January 2011. Montreuil said that children in the community stage a holiday play each year, but that the theater is otherwise unused.
The theater plan was part of New Hyde Park’s larger $6.43 million proposed budget for 2018-19. The spending plan is a $235,567 increase from the current budget.
To balance the budget, village officials want to increase property taxes by 1.65 percent, which would generate an extra $96,744 in tax revenue. Montreuil called the increase “modest” and said it would mean an extra $19.44 next year on the average homeowner’s tax bill.
Trustees expect to adopt the budget on April 17.
Aside from theater rentals, board trustees are also expecting revenue from other village operations. Village officials are projecting a $38,340 increase in parking permits and fees next fiscal year, as well as a $34,400 increase in building permits and licenses.
Village officials said employee benefits, including medical payments and Social Security contributions, mark one of the biggest reasons for increased costs. They are projected to total $1,635,475 in the next fiscal year, more than $100,000 higher than the current budget.
Village officials noted that their proposed tax increase stays below the state-mandated cap of 2 percent. The village has raised taxes every year in recent history, but has stayed below the state-mandated cap. New Hyde Park raised taxes 1.65 percent in 2014, 1.96 percent in 2015 and .28 percent in 2016.
“We spend 98 percent of our budget,” said Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino. “There isn’t any fluff in there.”