Amityville's landmark gazebo and clock tower are located at the...

Amityville's landmark gazebo and clock tower are located at the village's historic downtown triangle. (April 12, 2011) Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Amityville residents could face a proposed 27.41 percent tax hike next year.

Falling revenue and rising expenses led village trustees Monday night to unveil a $15.6-million budget proposal for the 2011-12 fiscal year that includes the property tax increase.

Village officials told dozens of residents at the meeting that the increase would probably drop as spending cuts are explored. These include possible layoffs and salary freezes for village employees, Mayor Peter Imbert said.

The village's overall spending would increase 14.82 percent and the proposed tax hike would increase the average homeowner's bill by $700, to $3,400, said village treasurer Donna Barnett.

The village's bill for pension and health insurance will rise more than $570,000 to $3.6 million next fiscal year, officials said. Additionally, about $410,000 must be paid to two retiring police officers for accrued sick time and vacation.

Imbert told residents Monday night that, though the situation is "horrendous," the board is not to blame.

"We have not overspent," he said. "We have not mismanaged. This is simply a mathematical function of losing revenue and increased expenses."

Though cuts are possible to such village traditions as the July 3 celebration and Independence Day fireworks, it was talk of closing the beach -- or charging to use it -- that drew the greatest reaction.

"I have to deal with the risk of my 401(k) fluctuating," said Dave Alubowicz, an insurance broker. "I have to chip in extra money to make sure the civil servants' pension fund is provided exactly as it was portrayed, and then come up with extra money just so I can take my children to a beach?"

Most residents at the meeting favored keeping the beach, which costs about $130,000 a year to operate, open. They proposed charging outsiders, and saving on maintenance by using court-ordered community service workers instead of Department of Public Works employees.

Next year, the village also will make a final loan payment of $650,000 for the 400 Merrick Rd. property occupied by Suffolk County National Bank. The village resold that property, but under government accounting rules the proceeds were recorded last fiscal year.

Trustee Ed Johnson said some children's beach activities might have to be cut to avoid additional personnel and insurance costs required by Suffolk.

The trustees are expected to meet April 25 to approve the budget, which takes effect June 1.

Latest videos