The Hempstead Village board has approved a $71.2 million budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1.
The budget, approved Thursday, includes a 6.37 percent tax increase, to $69.27 per $100 in assessed valuation. Trustees voted 4-1 in favor of the budget, with Trustee Perry Pettus voting against the increase.
“We just can’t afford these taxes in the village,” Pettus said Tuesday. “People are losing their homes.”
At Thursday’s meeting, Pettus called for a citizen advisory board to be created to work on next year’s village budget.
While he acknowledged trustees did the best they could, he added that an advisory board would help review the budget and try to find ways to keep taxes low.
“I’m going to look into (forming a citizen advisory board) and see what we can do,” Pettus said. “We need to see if we can have a budget that doesn’t have tax increases.”
Village Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. said the community is doing “pretty good” without an advisory board.
The mayor said his problem with an advisory board “is too many people telling you what to do. Everyone has an opinion, but I don’t think it would work under the strict timeframe” the village has to produce a budget.