The Oyster Bay Town Board approved a 2020 budget that hikes spending to $306.5 million — a $6.6 million increase compared to the adopted 2019 budget — while the overall tax levy remains flat.
“This is really one of the best budgets the town has ever had,” Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said at Tuesday’s town board meeting before the vote.
The budget passed 6-1 with Councilman Anthony Macagnone as the lone dissenting vote.
The town has seen revenue rise in some areas in recent years through a hike in commuter parking fees, an increase in the number of building permits issued annually and change in scheduling at parks facilities that town officials said led to greater usage without increasing fees.
The budget generally keeps in place a large tax hike adopted in 2016 that was intended to create recurring revenue to eliminate the town’s accumulated deficit in 2018. That hike was expected to increase tax revenue by approximately $23 million in 2017, according to town documents. The levy was cut by $1.3 million in 2018 and has stayed at that level since. The town’s accumulated deficit peaked in 2015 at $44.6 million and fell in 2016 to $24.2 million and to $9.4 million in 2017 and turned into an $8.2 million surplus at the end of 2018, according to town officials and financial documents.
The town calculates its surplus as the net balance of 13 funds, which include surpluses and deficits at the end of 2018.
The town’s capital debt — bonds and bond anticipation notes — increased this year, rising to $724.5 million as of July 15, from $672.3 million at the end of 2018, according to the town’s most recent bond prospectus.