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Residents could see 1.8% tax increase to pay for expected police retirements in Amityville

There is a public hearing on April 19

There is a public hearing on April 19 for Amityville's proposed $18.45 million budget. The 2021-22 spending plan includes a tax increase to pay for expected police retirements.  Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

The Village of Amityville is proposing to raise taxes by 1.8%, an increase that is largely fueled by $1.3 million in payouts to retiring police officers.

The proposed $18.45 million budget for 2021-22 is an increase of $1.46 million over last year’s budget of $16.99 million. The spending plan would raise taxes by 1.8%, with the tax rate rising from $36.53 a year to $37.19 per $100 of assessed value. Homeowners with an average home market value of $429,189 would pay $3,543, an increase of $62.88.

The proposed plan does not pierce the tax cap.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held Monday at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The largest surge in the budget is in police department spending, which would increase by $1.3 million from $8 million to $9.3 million, more than half of the entire budget. Village officials said most of that money is being budgeted for sick and vacation time payouts for the possible retirement of five officers.

The village also had to consider potential salary increases for officers. Amityville is now entering arbitration in its negotiations with the police union for a new contract. The department’s current contract expired in December 2018.

"We had to kind of guesstimate what any kind of raise would be," said Mayor Dennis Siry. "They’re leaving a lot of mystery in the budget."

In addition, the state upped the village’s contribution to the retirement system from 24% to 28%, a nearly $257,000 increase, said village Clerk-Treasurer Catherine Murdock.

She said the village has a $2.7 million fund balance, but the money appropriated for the retirements will nearly halve those reserves, which could impact the village’s bond rating, currently AA with Standard & Poor’s. The state recommends having a fund balance of 12% of the budget, Murdock said.

The next largest increase in the proposed spending plan is for the fire department, which would rise from $1.07 million to $1.2 million. Siry said that increase is due to putting more money in the retirement benefits fund, the purchase of bail-out ropes and a $2 per hour increase for EMTs to be competitive with neighboring village rates.

One budget line that would decrease is the public works department, which drops by $65,418. Siry said that is due to several retirements and filling the positions with less-expensive hires.

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