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DiNapoli’s office finds no issues with East Hampton’s budget

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, pictured at

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, pictured at Hofstra University on May 9, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

East Hampton Town officials are doing something right with their budget, a state comptroller’s office review recently found.

The town board recently adopted next year’s $77.8 million budget, which Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office determined is “reasonable” and does not need any improvements, according to a report released this month.

“When they come in and do an audit, they always find something,” town budget officer Len Bernard said Wednesday of typical comptroller reviews. “But they haven’t.”

The town is one of 20 municipalities this year to have their budgets reviewed by the comptroller’s office under deficit borrowing agreements, said Brian Butry, the comptroller’s deputy press secretary.

Butry “wouldn’t say one way or the other” how common it is for audits to yield no recommendations, but the office’s news releases are typically filled with lists of municipalities and agencies with room for improvement.

East Hampton Town has had its budget reviewed by the comptroller’s office for the past six years — of which the last five have also been deemed “reasonable” — after borrowing following a 2009 deficit of $28 million, Supervisor Larry Cantwell said.

The town will stop having its budget audited annually when it finishes paying off its deficit debt, which is expected around 2020, Bernard said.

The 2018 budget, which was adopted Nov. 2, does not pierce the state-mandated tax levy cap with $55 million collected in taxes, representing an increase of about 2.3 percent from last year.

Homeowners inside Sag Harbor and East Hampton villages will see a 1.23 percent increase in tax payments based on their assessed valuation. Tax payments will rise by 1.42 percent for homeowners outside those villages.

Town revenues are expected to reach about $24 million in 2018.

Cantwell, who is retiring at the end of the year, said Wednesday that he is “pleased and satisfied that we’re carrying out our fiscal responsibility” as part of his final budget.

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