The Oyster Bay Town Board plans to hold morning and evening hearings Tuesday on its proposed $299.8 million operating budget for 2019.
Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced earlier this month that he wanted the town to shorten its budget process and pass it before the Nov. 6 election.
“It's not mandated by law to pass it before Election Day, but we realize that's the right thing to do,” Saladino said at the Oct. 2 town board meeting. State law requires adoption of the budget by Nov. 20.
The hearings, which allow public comment, are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Town Hall in Oyster Bay. The next scheduled town board meeting is Oct. 30.
While 2018 is not an election year for Oyster Bay Town officials, Massapequa Park Mayor Jeffrey Pravato, who is the town’s deputy commissioner of public works, is running to unseat state Sen. John Brooks (D-Massapequa).
The proposed $299.8 million spending is effectively flat, compared with the 2018 budget. The current budget, passed in 2017, included a $1.3 million reduction in the property tax levy. In 2018, the town increased parking fees at its commuter lots, adding nearly $1 million in new revenue in the first half of the year, budget records show.
One area of spending that is expected to increase in 2019 is legal expenses. The budget for the Town Attorney’s office would increase to $4.5 million next year from the $3.6 million budgeted this year. The office’s budget rose substantially, from $1.9 million in 2010 to $5.1 million in 2016, town records show, as the town faced investigations into former concessionaire Harendra Singh.
The town plans to borrow about $50 million for new capital spending in 2019, according to a May borrowing prospectus. It also plans to borrow $10 million this December for cash flow purposes.
The budget describes several capital projects planned for 2019 by the town parks department, although estimated costs were not included in the proposal. Those projects include replacing turf fields at Triangle Park in Hicksville and one at Mustang field in Massapequa; replacing chlorine tanks at swimming pools at Marjorie Post Park and Syosset Woodbury Park; renovating the spray park, bathrooms and showers at Tobay beach; and repairing the septic system at Tappen Beach.