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Port Jeff village board votes to top tax cap

Port Jefferson Village Hall houses the village mayor's

Port Jefferson Village Hall houses the village mayor's office, the village treasurer and the village code violations court. Credit: Jasmin Frankel

The Port Jefferson village board unanimously passed a $9.47 million budget that increases spending by about 1.54 percent, but shatters the state tax cap.

The tax levy will increase by 8 percent to make up for lost revenue from decreasing assessments, village officials said. The village's cap this year was 2.3 percent under state law. The increase translates to about $65 to $80 more each year for the average taxpayer.

The board voted previously to pierce the state-mandated tax cap.

After a sparsely attended public hearing on the budget at village hall on Monday, the board voted, 4-0, to approve it.

"I'm not happy, but I think it's the best we can do at this point," said Mayor Margot Garant. Trustee Lee Rosner was absent.

The few residents at the public hearing focused on the spending increases. "I know things have to increase," said resident Kathleen Riley, who asked for more details on spending.

Village Treasurer Don Pearce said the bulk of the spending changes were personnel costs. Port Jefferson this year was "facing shrinking revenues, not increasing expenses," he said, and noted the village had already tightened spending. "We really have a pretty good handle on that."

Garant said she was reluctant to eliminate village services such as activities for the elderly. "Unless things get really bad, we're not getting rid of our recreational programs," she said.

Still, Pearce said the average taxpayer's bill remains reasonable. The estimated yearly tax bill of about $1,200 "is probably less than everybody's cable bill," Pearce said. "The village gets all these services for a hundred dollars a month or so."

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