Islip Town Hall in an undated photo.

Islip Town Hall in an undated photo. Credit: Erin Geismar

The Islip Town Board has drafted a $124.5 million budget that restores some services, adds personnel, and holds the line on taxes.

The board presented the proposed 2014 budget for official acceptance at last night's board meeting. A public hearing and vote are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 7 at Town Hall.

"We looked at every line to make sure everything served the core mission of the Town of Islip," said Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt in an interview before the meeting.

The proposed budget would cost the average homeowner with a house assessed at $400,000 about $441 in town taxes, the same rate as under the current $111 million budget. The proposed budget reflects a 12 percent spending increase.

In 2012, the town dealt with a $26 million deficit by eliminating its entire human services department, laying off more than 50 staffers and raising taxes 28 percent.

"There was a significant tax event last year," said Councilman Anthony Senft Jr. "This year, we challenged all of our commissioners to justify every dollar."

Some services would be restored in the 2014 budget, such as the seasonal bay constable and marina guard program, the town's pump-out boat, and the Roberto Clemente/Timberline pool in Brentwood.

Board members said in drafting the new budget they looked for ways to save money and make services more efficient. Councilman Steve Flotteron said, for example, having a nonprofit run the town's South Shore Nature Center is saving the town "a couple hundred thousand dollars" and "we got better services out of it."

The town also plans to sell $10 million worth of public property that the board considers underutilized. Bergin Weichbrodt said a 20-acre parcel in Central Islip that the Department of Public Works has used is under contract for $3 million and could become the site of factories with hundreds of jobs. DPW employees would be transfer-red to other locations, she said.

Last week, the town board held a special meeting with town commissioners to talk about expectations and needs for the new budget. Some departments, such as planning, asked for additional personnel to help deal with increased workloads in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

The personnel requests are included in the budget, but Senft said the town board intends to continue keeping the public payroll lean and the commissioners accountable. "They know it's not the same process," Senft said. "They're not used to a board holding their feet to the fire. We want to make sure we're spending tax dollars wisely."

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