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Babylon’s $144M tentative 2018 budget holds taxes mostly steady

The average Babylon Town household will pay slightly

The average Babylon Town household will pay slightly more in town property taxes next year due to a small uptick in assessed home values, according to the proposed spending plan. Credit: Steve Pfost

The average Babylon Town household would pay slightly more in town property taxes next year, even as tax rates remain flat, under Babylon’s 2018 tentative budget.

The $1.78 average increase — making for a typical town tax bill of less than $1,300 — is due to a small uptick in assessed home values in Babylon, according to the proposed spending plan, which was released last month.

The increase is well within the state’s tax cap levy, which limits annual property tax growth and in 2018 is 1.84 percent.

At $143,966,389, the tentative budget is 1.4 percent larger than last year’s adopted budget, owing largely to an anticipated rise in general fund expenses of $2,423,105.

The general fund budget growth is projected to include a $415,000, or 6.82 percent, rise in employee benefits costs for hospital and medical insurance, as well as increases of $121,000, $100,000 and $83,000 in anticipated expenses for animal control, cleanups of blighted properties and the legislative board, respectively.

In the highway fund, the snow removal budget will go from $1.2 million to $1.65 million, which Babylon Town Comptroller Victoria Marotta said is due in part to the town’s dwindling reserves in the 2017 budget for the upcoming winter.

“Based on that and previous years’ snowstorms and budget overruns, it was decided to increase the level of funding,” Marotta said.

Those budgetary increases are partially offset by belt-tightening elsewhere, such as the $1 million reduction in the budget for the Long Island Green Homes Program, which helps with household energy-efficiency improvements, from $1.5 million to $500,000.

“The program has been declining over the last couple of years,” Marotta said. “The requests for participation are just not coming in.”

The tentative budget does not include the town’s special district fund, which last year had an adopted budget of $17.7 million. The fund covers Babylon’s 11 fire protection districts and the Wyandanch Wheatley Heights Ambulance Improvement District, which each levy relatively small taxes at their own rates that appear on the town’s property tax bills.

The special district fund will be included in the town’s preliminary budget, which is set to come out at the end of October.

The town board will hold a public hearing on the proposed spending plan on Nov. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at Babylon Town Hall, 200 East Sunrise Hwy., Lindenhurst. The budget is available on the website of the Babylon comptroller’s office at https://nwsdy.li/2guzn4T.

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