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Mild winter helps Village of the Branch budget

Thanks partly to the mild winter, the Village of the Branch will not raise taxes more than what is allowed by the state cap.

The tiny village’s trustees have adopted a $750,824 budget for the year starting June 1. That’s a 5.7 percent increase over the current $710,291 budget. Property owners will pay a tax of $9.55 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A comparison to the current tax rate was not available.

The village, which occupies part of the Town of Smithtown’s central business district, has about 2,000 residents.

After going two years without a surplus, the village is transferring $19,300 in unspent funds to next year’s budget -- much of it from untapped money in the village’s $75,000 snow budget, Deputy Mayor Mark Delaney said.

The village tax levy will be $487,874, about $1,500 less than allowed by the state without exceeding the cap, Delaney said. State law generally caps tax levy increases at 2 percent, but exceptions are allowed for pension expenses, legal settlements and debt.

Delaney said the village -- which employs 11 people, all of whom work part-time -- pays relatively little for pensions and employee health care.

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