Council members in the Town of North Hempstead passed a $129.5 million budget Wednesday that includes no layoffs in 2018 and comes with a slight tax increase for residents in unincorporated areas.
The town plans to spend $66.9 million in its general fund next year and $36.4 million in the town outside village fund. The budget for the town’s 20 special districts is $26 million.
“This budget protects the wallets of North Hempstead’s taxpayers while continuing to provide essential services for our residents,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a statement Thursday.
Although the budget has passed, some details could change in coming weeks. The town is still negotiating a new contract with its CSEA employees’ union, and any wage increases would alter the final figures in the general and town outside village funds.
There’s no tax increase for the general fund, but there will be a 1.84 percent increase in the town outside village fund. Residents in the unincorporated areas of town will see a $28.40 annual property tax increase. Town officials say it will fund more personnel at the building and highway departments.
The budget passed on a 6-1 vote, with Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio voting no.
De Giorgio said Thursday that she opposed the budget because she feels there is a problem with the way the town collects tax revenue from the special districts. She said some of the districts are being forced to funnel money into the town general fund even though those districts didn’t utilize the town’s help on matters like legal aid, human resources or information technology.
“What I’m arguing is that the garbage districts, the fire districts and the other special-operated districts are being charged, but they didn’t have many services rendered to them,” De Giorgio said.
Also featured in the 2018 budget, town officials say no existing services will be cut.
The town’s total debt is $203 million with $192 million in long-term debt and $11 million in short-term debt. Bosworth said the town has lowered its debt by $32 million since 2013.