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Southampton’s 2017 budget would add jobs, boost spending

Southampton Town Hall on July 14, 2012.

Southampton Town Hall on July 14, 2012. Credit: Ian J. Stark

Southampton Town’s proposed $94.7 million budget for 2017 calls for a 3.9 percent increase from last year’s spending plan and the creation of a pair of offices to address residents’ quality-of-life concerns.

The property tax rate under the new budget is projected to decrease from $1.4229 per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2015-16 to $1.3998 per $1,000 in 2016-17, a 1.6 percent decrease that Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said is the largest tax rate reduction for Southampton in “many years.”

“We’ve looked back over the past 10 years, and this is by far the most significant reduction in the tax rate that has been seen,” he said.

The proposed budget, Schneiderman added, comes in below Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s tax cap and focuses on public safety and quality-of-life concerns in addition to improving roads, park facilities and other town infrastructure.

Several new positions are in the spending plan, including the addition of a police officer, a public safety dispatcher and a part-time code enforcement officer.

The budget also calls for the creation of an Office of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Public Safety to address quality-of-life issues, Schneiderman said.

The Public Safety Department, which was recommended in a 2010 organizational analysis the town commissioned, would work primarily on housing code violations. The housing office — which would be a division of the town’s Land Management Department — would work on creating code-compliant affordable housing opportunities for residents.

The budget allocates $3.2 million in capital borrowing for road improvements, $1.4 million for park facility upgrades and $1.3 million in major technology upgrades in townwide computer networks.

The budget must be adopted by Nov. 20. The town board will discuss it at work sessions on Thursday and Oct. 20, and public hearings on the spending plan are scheduled for Oct. 25 and Nov. 9.

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