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Islip's tentative 2016 budget has 1.23% spending increase, meets state tax cap

Islip Town Hall in 2011.

Islip Town Hall in 2011. Credit: Erin Geismar

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter has submitted a 2016 tentative budget of $221.2 million that increases spending by 1.23 percent over the current budget of $218.5 million.

In a phone interview, Carpenter said the increase of $2.7 million in spending is "modest" and complies with the 0.73 percent tax cap as mandated by the state.

The average household's tax bill will increase, though Carpenter said she did not want to specify by how much until the final budget is passed.

"I can give you a number but it's going to change," she said, and pointed out that of the average Islip homeowner's tax bill, 4.43 percent goes to the town.

The tentative budget also calls for adding staff later in the year, with the expected increased demands on the town administration from behemoth developments Heartland Town Square and Islip Pines.

The mixed-use, 136-acre Islip Pines development was approved in March 2014 by the town board. The 451-acre Heartland mixed-use complex is still pending approval from the planning board, which would then send the project to the town board for a vote.

Carpenter said that she's trying to make progress on the Heartland project and "move it along." "From here it has to go to the county, and I can't imagine they don't want to see it move forward. We're all on the same page," she said of her support for the project.

The budget also calls for $257,000 in debt service on a new sewage treatment plant for Lexington Village, a condo complex in Brentwood, and a 0.26 percent increase in town-owned Long Island MacArthur Airport's $15.1 million budget.

The town also continues to grapple with declining revenues from mortgage fees and an estimated $13.2 million deficit.

Last year, the Islip board was criticized for last-minute budget amendments and tax increases after then-Supervisor Tom Croci submitted a tentative budget with no tax increases.

Carpenter said, "I wasn't here then," and said she will ask the board members this year to present all changes in one budget amendment.

"There is going to be some adjusting and tinkering that will take place not just among the town board but in trying to get the narrative together," she said.

The budget will be presented to the town board at the Oct. 13 board meeting, and a public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.

"I think for the most part it's a good story for the Town of Islip," Carpenter said of the tentative budget. "We're heading in the right direction."

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