A nearly $74 million budget that includes funds for additional police, fire and code enforcement personnel to help continue the crackdown on disruptive summertime partying in Montauk was unanimously adopted Tuesday by the East Hampton Town Board.
The $73,783,977 spending plan for 2016 will mean a 1.7 percent tax increase for most residents, representing a hike of about 3 percent over this year's budget. It is also about $240,000 more than the spending plan announced by Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell in September.
Town budget officer Len Bernard said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the budget adopted Tuesday was higher than the $73,544,041 spending plan presented by Cantwell earlier this fall because of some changes that were made after the preliminary budget was drawn up.
For example, Bernard said, "A decision was made to pay for the hamlet study out of the operating budget instead of borrowing the money to pay for it."
The $285,000 study is set to begin next year and will examine prospects for the future development of the business districts of East Hampton Town's various hamlets.
Residents living outside of the incorporated villages will see their tax rate go up by 1.69 percent, to 48 cents per $100 of assessed value. There would be a tax increase of about $34 for the owner of a $1 million house and $49 for the owner of a $1.5 million home. Increases for residents of incorporated villages would be between $5 and $7.
More than $600,000 in salaries and benefits for three new police officers, a new fire marshal, a new ordinance enforcement officer, and a new building inspector and a town attorney are included.
Cantwell expressed the need for the additional staff after a demand from residents that something be done to get control over young summertime visitors whose actions -- including public urination, drunkenness and excessive noise -- during the Fourth of July weekend this year caused a record number of about 400 calls to police.
In the days immediately following the holiday weekend, a crackdown was initiated by local officials that resulted in many establishments in downtown Montauk -- including some that attracted a young, boisterous crowd -- receiving citations for noise, overcrowding and other violations.
Town board members also passed and have drafted new laws to assist in the crackdown effort, including a proposed controversial rent-registry law that will be the subject of a public hearing .
The measure, which officials said would help to monitor any overcrowding or other violations at share houses, would require owners to register information with the town including whom they are renting to and the terms of their leases.