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North Hempstead’s $102.7M budget up slightly over previous year

North Hempstead officials have presented a $102.7 million tentative budget for 2017, which would raise the tax levy by 1.7 percent.

The budget still remains under the state tax cap of 0.68 percent, because of unused allowable levy growth in previous years and tax base growth, town officials said.

“Very few municipalities increase exactly by the 0.68,” said Jessica Lamendola, the town’s director of finance.

The 2017 budget marks a slight increase from last year’s $102 million spending plan. The town proposes a $67,266,454 million general fund budget and a $35,461,585 million budget for its outside village fund, which serves residents who live or own property outside the bounds of the town’s incorporated villages.

Town officials said they could not yet release estimates for taxes on the average household because of about $2.2 million worth of LIPA payments in lieu of taxes that will impact the tax base. Estimates will be provided later within the budget process, Lamendola said.

The Office of Sustainability’s budget increased by $418,879 to $1.2 million. This covers funding for environmental initiatives such as a computerized regional map of storm water drainage systems, for which $166,250 has been budgeted.

The finance department has expanded to include purchasing, as a result of Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s commitment to ethics reform, said Deputy Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian. The department’s budget will more than double to $451,026 from $205,500 last year, and includes six new positions. The net headcount remains the same, because these positions have been transferred from other departments, Khatchadourian said.

The town is reviewing vacancies, and the employee base will likely stay flat, Khatchadourian added. In July, the town had 819 employees, including full-time and seasonal part-time staff.

The budget will be discussed at an Oct. 13 public hearing, and the board will vote on the adopted budget on Nov. 1.

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