The Oyster Bay Town Board on Tuesday approved a $299.8 million budget that keeps the tax levy flat.
“The 2019 budget holds the line on taxes, there are no one shots, no gimmicks, no land sales,” Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said before the vote. “Revenues were calculated in a very conservative manner. We underestimated revenues and overestimated expenses to approach this in a very conservative way.”
Saladino had previously announced that the budget, which under state law must be adopted by Nov. 20, would be passed before the Nov. 6 election.
The 2019 budget is slightly higher than the $299.1 million budget for this year.
The board adopted the budget in a 6-1 vote with Councilman Anthony Macagnone casting the dissenting vote.
“I will not vote for any budget that does not return the lag payroll back to our workers,” Macagnone said. Civil Service Employee Association Local 881 agreed in 2012 to defer two paychecks to avert layoffs. “It’s time we make plans to return that money to them," Macagnone said.
The budget keeps salaries at roughly current levels — $83.3 million compared with $83.4 million in the 2018 budget.
Although the overall tax levy will remain flat at $225 million, increases and decreases in individual tax levies affect property owners differently depending on where they live. The 2019 budget increases the general fund levy — which is paid by most property owners — by $7.9 million, but other levies that don’t apply as broadly, such as highway and parks, are going down.
The budget does not include rental payments for the town's facilities at 150 Miller Pl. in Syosset that could be as much as $900,000 annually. The town sold the land in 2013 to Syosset Park Development LLC, which is seeking town approval to build condominiums and commercial space on the site. The town is in negotiations with the developer over payments to allow the town to continue to use the property for up to three years.
“We are currently working out all the details,” Saladino said.