The Village of Northport released on Wednesday a tentative $20.4 million budget proposal that includes a cap-busting tax-levy increase of 3.27 percent.
The nearly $450,000 increase over the current fiscal year’s spending would increase the tax rate for residents and businesses by 2.93 percent, raising taxes to $65.14 per $100 of assessed property value. Taxes would go up $1.86 per $100 of property value if the tentative 2016-17 budget is adopted.
“This is a very spare budget, it’s a bare-bones budget,” Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said. “The board and the mayor and the treasurer have worked very hard to minimize any increase.”
The biggest spending would be $5.8 million on Home and Community Services, with the bulk of that — $4 million — coming from expenses related to ongoing sewer-treatment-plant upgrades, Tobin said. The village would be reimbursed for much of that by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp.
The latest part of the project would replace sewer lines dating back to the 1930s from Fifth Avenue to Beach Avenue along Woodbine.
“Nobody wants to see their taxes go up — that’s a given,” said Dorothy Walsh, executive director of the Northport Chamber of Commerce. “I would think Northport business men and women would be willing to pay a reasonable tax increase because of the good services that we do have here in the village.”
The second largest budget expense would be $5.4 million for public safety, including the village’s police department, which would tentatively spend $2.9 million on salaries. That includes temporary officers, crossing guards and emergency dispatchers. Police Chief Bill Ricca would be paid $219,938 — the same as his predecessor, former Chief Ray Mahdesian who retired in September.
“People do live here because we’re known to be a safe community and a lot of that has to do with our own police force,” Walsh said. “We have an excellent police force.”
The tentative budget would leave Northport with an anticipated $232,998 surplus.
“It’s a boon for us,” Tobin said. “We’re able to use some of that to reduce the tax burden for next year. And the balance of that we’re able to put in reserves which gives us a buffer for unexpected extraordinary events, such as when we were struck by superstorm Sandy.”
Northport’s next fiscal year runs March 1, 2016, to Feb. 28, 2017.
Three out of the village’s five trustees would need to vote to approve any budget that surpasses the state tax cap, which is about 0.45 percent, Tobin said.