When it comes to whether Shelter Island spending will go up or down in 2014, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said things could go either way.
Dougherty said the $7 million tentative budget plan he filed will certainly decrease because of one significant error, but there is also a chance it will go up significantly because of the need to buy new equipment for the highway department.
No public hearing on the budget has yet been set, but it is likely to come up in discussion at next Friday’s town board meeting.
The current town budget is $6,735,220, and initial requests from various town departments total more than $10.5 million. In the first six months of this year, the town spent $4,705,404, the supervisor said.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” Dougherty said.
While no tax rates have been calculated, Dougherty said he is concerned that taxes could increase by more than 10 percent, and that it is likely the town will have to break the state tax cap.
Currently, the biggest budget topic under discussion by the town board -- the full board gets to vote to adopt or change the budget -- is new equipment to replace the worn-out trucks in the town highway department.
Dougherty said one error in the budget that will help the town is the amount set aside for 60 Four Posters, machines placed outdoors to attract deer and -- while they eat -- apply a pesticide that kills ticks.
It can cost $4,000 to $5,000 to maintain those machines for a year. Dougherty said he only planned to have 31 of them in use in 2014, while the budget has enough money for all 60.