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Contract talks may alter N. Hempstead’s $129.5M 2018 budget

North Hempstead Town Hall on Sept. 1, 2015.

North Hempstead Town Hall on Sept. 1, 2015. Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

The Town of North Hempstead’s tentative $129.5 million 2018 budget calls for no layoffs but could see substantial changes once officials agree on a contract with the employees’ union.

During a budget work session on Wednesday, town officials said a new CSEA union contract and the salaries associated with 19 unfilled positions will likely alter the final spending plan. Knowing this, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth called the budget “very much a work in progress.”

“The biggest open question for this budget is future salaries,” she said. “We’re close to an agreement with the union. I believe we may have a new collective bargaining agreement by the time we vote on the final budget.”

For 2018, the town is proposing to spend $129.5 million across its three funds, marking a 2.3 percent spending increase from the current budget. The tax levy would increase 1.44 percent, a figure that Bosworth said stays below the state tax cap.

The proposed budget calls for $66.9 million for the general fund, $36.3 million for the town outside village fund and $26.3 million for the 20 town-operated special districts.

Town Comptroller Averil Smith said there will be no reduction in town services.

During Wednesday’s work session, council members asked the comptroller’s staff about fluctuations in various departmental budgets. The board wanted to know why part of the department of services for the aging budget will see a slight decrease, from $3,494,656 in 2017 to a projected $3,410,005 next year.

Dennis Morgan, the town’s chief deputy comptroller, said some of the decrease is because the department had been awarded a transportation grant of $1 million over a three-year period. “We expect to use more than $800,000 of that grant by the end of this year, 2017” said Dennis Morgan, the town’s chief deputy comptroller. “The 2018 budget reflects the remaining balance. The town intends to reapply for this grant.”

Council members also wanted to know why part of the public safety department budget is growing by more than $48,000, to $156,443 in the projected budget. Deputy Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian said the department is hiring a clerk who will perform all the administrative tasks that currently fall to police deputies.

The town council will have two more public meetings about the budget — on Oct. 16 and Oct. 24 — before voting on a final spending plan on Nov. 1.

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