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Babylon will hold hearing Thursday on tentative 2016 town budget

Babylon Town hall on Aug. 30, 2003.

Babylon Town hall on Aug. 30, 2003. Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

The Town of Babylon on Thursday will hold a public hearing on its tentative 2016 budget, which proposes a slight tax increase that would be offset by state funds for most residents.

The proposed $142,040,732 budget calls for a .35 percent tax increase, which comes out to about $24 more for the average home assessed at $3,800. However, because the budget comes in under the state tax cap of .73 percent, most town residents should qualify for the state's Property Tax Freeze Credit program. The program allows for refunds on tax increases, provided a municipality's budget falls under the tax cap for 2015 and 2016, and if the municipality filed a Government Efficiency Plan by June of this year. The plan must show a savings of 1 percent annually over the next three years.

"The team has done a great job of keeping costs down, staying under the tax cap and giving our residents literally no increase since it's going to be reimbursed by the state," said Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer.

Schaffer said the refund checks should be received in the first few months of 2016. To receive the rebate, the property must be the owner's primary residence and total household income must be $500,000 or less.

The part town and residential garbage funds hold steady in the town's tentative budget, while the general fund tax increases by just over $4 per average household. The highway fund increases taxes by nearly $20 for the average home. Schaffer said this is due to increased funding for snow removal, citing last winter's heavy hit on the town's snow removal budget, which soared $500,000 over its allotted amount. For 2016, the town has increased its snow removal budget by $300,000 to $900,000.

The highway fund increase is also a result of the town's plans to step up road construction and resurfacing in 2016, he said. The town is devoting $7 million for these projects, he said, up from the average $6 million it usually spends because the rough winter also ravaged roads.

The hearing on the budget will be held at 3:30 p.m. at town hall in Lindenhurst.

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