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Brookhaven town: $294M budget includes 1% tax increase

The Brookhaven Town Board voted 7-0 Thursday, Nov.

The Brookhaven Town Board voted 7-0 Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, to approve the budget. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Brookhaven Town Board has approved a $294 million budget for next year that raises taxes about 1 percent and provides more staff as the town absorbs services currently provided by the Village of Mastic Beach, which will disband on Dec. 31.

The board voted 7-0 at its meeting Thursday to approve the budget, which increases spending next year by 4.4 percent, or about $12.3 million.

Brookhaven officials said taxes on the typical single-family home will go up next year by $10.70 — from $1,063.73 to $1,074.43. Those figures do not include special districts such as ambulance districts.

“This budget reflects good, responsible budgeting and spending,” Councilwoman Jane Bonner said in an interview. “It protects taxpayers. We’ve held the line on taxes and we’re committed to that.”

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine will receive a 2.3 percent raise, from $114,389 this year to $117,112. The town’s six council members each will receive 2.3 percent raises, from $69,006 this year to $70,649.

The town’s unionized employees are due 2.38 percent raises next year. Overall spending on salaries and benefits is expected to go up 3.7 percent, or $4.7 million next year.

Town officials said non-property tax revenue has improved in recent years, with increases from income such as mortgage taxes and zoning and building fees.

The new budget calls for hiring seven new employees — such as building inspectors, code enforcement officers, planning staff and highway workers — to work in Mastic Beach. Residents last year voted to dissolve the village. Town officials have said they expect to receive a $1 million state grant to help pay expenses related to the South Shore village’s disincorporation.

The board also approved spending $2 million to repair the Davis Park marina on Fire Island, which was severely damaged by a storm last month.

Churning waters caused by the Oct. 29 storm knocked wooden planks off docks, pulled a boardwalk from a bulkhead and damaged electrical systems, town officials have said. They plan to complete repairs by Memorial Day weekend.

The town board approved using $500,000 from this year’s reserve funds to start making repairs. The board also approved adding $1.5 million to next year’s capital budget to complete the work.

“I think it’s a good budget right now,” Councilman Kevin LaValle said. “We’ve had some issues with Davis Park that came up recently . . . But I think it’s a solid budget overall.”

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