Smithtown’s Town Board last week unanimously approved a $103 million 2017 budget.
The budget, substantially the same as a draft version Supervisor Patrick Vecchio released earlier this month, sets aside $2 million for open space preservation and $2 million to establish a sewer reserve fund. It increases total spending by $2 million over the current budget but cuts property taxes slightly.
Town property taxes for the average home assessed at $5,500 would be $1,269.88, a $1.37 decrease from last year that stays within New York State’s tax levy cap of .68 percent. The town would raise $55.49 million from property taxes, unchanged from last year, with the total assessed value of property up slightly.
Karl Walz Jr., a salesman from St. James who was the only town resident to speak at the budget hearing Thursday night, criticized what he said were excessive salary increases for most Town Board members, whose pay will rise from $55,818 to $65,818.
“I understand you probably haven’t received an increase in a long time, but 20 percent of current salary, to me, is a little ludicrous,” he said. “And you’re the ones voting on it.”
Vecchio has described the raises as a cost of living increase. Board salaries had not changed since 2009.
Councilwoman Lisa Inzerillo, elected to office in 2015, said Thursday that she would not accept the raise because she hadn’t served as long as her fellow board members.