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Amityville proposes budget with no tax increase to residents

Amityville officials released a proposed budget of $15.8

Amityville officials released a proposed budget of $15.8 million on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, that would keep taxes flat. Above, Village Hall is seen on Feb. 25, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Village of Amityville has released a proposed budget that results in no tax increase to residents.

The $15.8 million tentative budget is still being tinkered with by officials and must be passed by the board of trustees by May 1.

At a public hearing Monday night, some residents were critical that the proposed budget had not been placed online until a few hours before the meeting. Mayor Dennis Siry said the village was racing to put together the budget after budget officer Nick LaLota, who unsuccessfully ran against Siry for mayor, quit as budget officer on April 12.

“It’s like the quarterback walking off just before the playoffs,” Siry said.

LaLota said he quit because he could not produce a budget that supported both his and Siry’s campaign promises. During the election LaLota released his own budget, slightly larger but also with a zero tax increase.

Siry dismissed LaLota’s reason and said the move was political.

“I thought we had the same philosophy about keeping the tax rate as low as we can,” said Siry, who fired the village’s clerk-treasurer two weeks ago, a decision some have said also was political.

Some residents also said that because there was not a hard copy of the budget available before the hearing, that the village was in violation of state law. State law mandates “a copy of the tentative budget is available at the office of the village clerk where it may be inspected by any interested person during office hours.” Another resident said the budget was missing a wage schedule, another possible violation of state law.

Siry said after the meeting that he was not “100 percent sure” the village was in violation of the law and would be looking into it.

He said they are still considering adding in $23,000 for EMT services, which would raise the budget 0.05 percent and could result in a roughly $7 tax increase per average household. Property taxes under the zero percent increase budget are $35.23 per $100 of assessed value, with the average home assessed at $400,000.

The tentative budget reduces debt service by $184,853, down to $1,166,878, and leaves an unassigned fund balance of $352,496. The budget’s largest increases from last year are in the police department, up $112,321 to $7,200,524 and the fire department, up $94,098 to $1,199,874.

The budget makes slight modifications to each department: Shared services is down $59,476; administration department is down $23,659; building department is up $16,975; public works department is up $37,081; the court is up $6,873; and capital projects is down $50,000.

Siry said he expects to call for a special meeting on May 1 for the board to vote on the proposed budget.

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