Brookhaven officials Monday proposed a $312.9 million budget that would add spending for road repaving, snow removal and the eventual closure of the town landfill while staying within the state property tax cap.
Spending to resurface roads would go up by 50 percent — from $10 million to $15 million — next year if the town board approves the tentative spending plan, town officials said. Budget officials also plan to increase the snow removal budget by 1.2 percent and add $1.6 million to a reserve fund for the landfill, which is expected to close in 2024.
Property taxes will not exceed 2 percent, officials said. Actual tax bills vary depending on whether residents live in or outside a village.
Overall spending would go up by 2.9 percent, town officials said, adding there would be a net increase of one town employee. The townwide garbage district fee would remain flat at $350.
"This is a taxpayer's budget, because everything is as flat as can be," Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said during an interview at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville. "From any angle you look at this, this is a budget I'm pleased to present."
Romaine said he and town budget officials have focused on decreasing the town's reliance on budget surpluses to cover revenue shortfalls and reducing town debt without sacrificing services.
Next year's budget uses no reserves to cover spending, Romaine said. Budget surpluses will be shifted to reserve funds for open space preservation, snow removal and other purposes, he said.
Brookhaven Chief of Operations Matt Miner said there is $13 million in the landfill closure fund, including surpluses and revenue from tipping fees paid by contractors. Town officials plan to have about $22 million in the fund when the landfill closes to cover the costs of maintaining the facility after it is no longer in operation.
To reduce debt more quickly, Brookhaven has moved from taking 20-year loans for capital projects to shorter terms such as 12 years, officials said. Officials said town debt, which stood at nearly $600 million at the end of last year, coluld be reduced by about $20 million by 2021.
"In the next 10 years, 90 percent of our debt will be gone," said Romaine, a Republican.
The town also is proposing a capital budget that includes $43.9 million worth of new projects, including $26.4 million for highway improvements, $5.2 million for parks and recreational facilities, $4.6 million for open space preservation, $4.4 million for landfill upgrades and $2.5 million for vehicle purchases and improvements at town facilities.
The town board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 5 p.m. on Nov. 7. Romaine said the board will vote on the budget on Nov. 19.
The proposed budget will be posted on the town website, brookhavenny.gov, officials said.