Hempstead Village property owners can expect a bigger tax bill if a proposed budget for the coming year is approved later this month.

A plan for the fiscal year starting in June would increase spending by $5.1 million and raise the property tax levy by 3.9 percent, but by using $4.5 million of its surplus to fund the budget it avoids an even bigger tax hike.

Village officials cited a spike in pension and lawsuit costs and a $1.5-million decline in the village's assessed value as reasons for the spending and tax increases.

Payments for employee pensions, including police, will increase by 30.69 percent, to $4.83 million, according to the proposed budget.

Under the plan, the tax rate would rise from $61.53 to $65.12 per $100 of assessed valuation.

A home assessed at $7,000 would owe $4,558.40 in village taxes, up $251.64 from the current fiscal year. General fund expenses would grow from $66.75 million to $71.88 million.

A hearing on the budget Monday evening drew fewer than a dozen people, some of whom asked about the village's rainy day funds and overtime costs. Others complained about the tax burden.

"It's not that we want to raise taxes, but it's just because of the time we're living in," said Village Mayor Wayne Hall Sr., citing a proposed 10.5 percent tax rate increase in Rockville Centre as an example.

After the meeting, resident Perre Smalls said the village "can't keep increasing spending, especially in these times."

He pointed to the police budget of $21.4 million - 29.76 percent of the general fund - as too high. "We have to hold the line on spending," he said.

The village board is scheduled to vote on the budget at a meeting April 26 at 6 p.m.

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