Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci’s $208.2 million proposed operating budget for 2021 calls for a slight increase in property taxes but no layoffs.
Capital budget spending includes a new butterfly park and marina improvements.
The tentative $208,242,822 operating budget calls for raising property taxes 1.94%, which translates to about a $34 annual increase for residents who live within the general fund, part town, refuse and highway districts. The part town fund covers services provided to residents who do not live in the town’s four incorporated villages and includes transportation and traffic safety, fire prevention services and zoning and building inspections.
The measure falls within the state-mandated tax cap for 2021 and is a 1.35% increase over the current $205.7 million budget. The operating budget includes contractual raises of 2% for white- and blue-collar employees, and mandatory employee contributions for health benefits.
Lupinacci said he is proud of the spending plan.
"We will keep spending under control, ensure the delivery of essential services, allow for the growth of infrastructure and stay well within the tax cap," he said. "These are truly signs of our strengths and ability to endure despite the challenges posed by COVID-19."
The proposed capital budget is $20.9 million.
In his budget preview, Lupinacci cited a new contractual agreement for a resource recovery plant and expanding online remote access to residents to help offset the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as among the major impacts on the proposed budget.
Lupinacci touted cost saving strategies of filling only essential positions that are vacated and shared services arrangements with other municipalities, such as the town’s agreement with Suffolk County on some senior services.
Capital projects include the construction of a butterfly park on Burr Road in Commack in memory of Marcie Mazzola, a Commack woman who was killed in a car crash in 2002 when she was 21.
Her father, Paul Mazzola, said after her death that the family kept seeing butterflies, so they named a foundation formed in her memory — aimed at at-risk and abused children — the Butterfly Foundation.
"We’ve been working toward this for nine years," Mazzola said, referring to the butterfly park. "We feel great that this is finally going to happen."
Town Board member Ed Smyth said the town’s strong financial position allowed officials to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis without a cut to essential services like senior citizen meal delivery, youth intervention programs, HART Bus paratransit services and fixed route services used by essential front line workers.
"The tentative budget comes in under the 2% tax cap and continues the conservative budgeting practices of the current administration, which reduced a burden on the taxpayer that had grown out of control over the prior two decades while delivering on promises of enacting term limits, ethics reforms and preserving open space," Smyth said.
A public hearing on the preliminary budget will be held Nov. 4. At that meeting there also will be presentations by department heads on budget estimates. All of it will be livestreamed on the Town’s website at huntingtonny.gov/meetings and on government access TV channels Optimum 18 and FIOS 38.
The budget must be adopted by Nov. 20.
- Commencing construction of the James D. Conte Community Center in Huntington Station.
- A turf field and construction of a spray park at Manor Field Park in Huntington Station.
- Improvements to the Halesite and Woodbine marinas.