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Hempstead Town budget plan drops taxes

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza is at 1 Washington

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza is at 1 Washington St. Photo Credit: J.C. Cherubini, 2011

Hempstead Town officials announced that total town taxes under the 2014 budget proposal will be reduced by 0.46 percent, the third straight such decline.

The total tax levy will be reduced by $1.2 million — from $262.2 million in 2013 to $261 million in the 2014 proposed budget. Republican Supervisor Kate Murray also proposed town tax reductions in the 2012 and 2013 budgets. The usage of town reserves has yet to be determined, officials said.

“The total reserves to be drawn upon in the budget proposal have not been determined at this point,” town spokesman Michael Deery said in an email. “That will depend on finalizing all other sources of revenues in the budget and the receipt of additional revenue data for this year.”

Felix Procacci, the Democratic candidate for supervisor in the fall elections and a longtime town critic, called the projection as case of “blowing smoke.”

“How can you predict something when you don’t have the other numbers?” he said. “It is impossible to determine. They are just planning to use reserves to make up the difference.”

The 2014 budget will continue to fund all town programs and services, such as park improvements, senior services, an affordable homes initiative and the ANCHOR program for children with special needs, Murray said in a statement. Managers will continue to be held accountable for complying with the town’s spending plan, she added.

“I will present a 2014 budget that cuts total town taxes,” Murray said in the statement. “With a weak national economy and the hardships inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, holding the line on taxes is just not enough. Residents deserve a government that is responsive to their needs.”

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