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Smithtown hearing on 2012 budget tonight

Smithtown residents will have a chance tonight to comment on the town’s proposed 2012 budget.

If passed unchanged, the budget would raise taxes by 0.72 percent. Spending would rise by 1.5 percent, to $100.5 million, from the current year’s budget.

The town avoided exceeding the state’s 2 percent cap on property tax increases by using money from cash reserves, Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said.

“We didn’t exceed it because we applied reserves,” he said Tuesday in an interview in his office. But he said so-called “rainy day funds” are not a long-term solution for balancing budgets.

“At some point, towns won’t be able to do it,” Vecchio said.

Taxes linked to the town’s general fund remained flat. But taxes for the highway fund would go up an average of $15 to $20 per household, partly because of cleanup expenses from Tropical Storm Irene, which cut into the highway department’s reserve funds.

The hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Citizen Center, 420 Middle Country Rd.

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