North Hempstead's budget, which was approved by a 7-0 vote...

North Hempstead's budget, which was approved by a 7-0 vote Thursday, includes a 2% increase over the current spending plan. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The North Hempstead Town Board has passed a $138 million budget that includes no layoffs or service cuts, even lowering taxes for hamlet residents despite a slight tax levy increase.

"This year’s budget, once again, continues the fiscally conservative practices of this administration while continuing to deliver essential services to all our residents," said Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, noting in prepared remarks that the budget stayed below the state’s tax cap.

The budget, which was approved by a 7-0 vote Thursday, includes a 2% increase over the current spending plan.

It allocates $71.1 million to the town’s general fund, $39.3 million to the town outside village fund, and $27.7 million for 20 town-operated special districts.

The general fund tax levy will increase by 3% annually, or an average of $9.56 per household, according to the town. Although the tax levy for the town outside village fund will go up by 1.3%, taxes for homeowners living in the hamlet will drop an average of $106 a year per household, said Tania Orenstein, the town’s comptroller.

Orenstein said the decrease is due to Nassau County’s reassessment of properties that changed the apportionment of tax levy among residential, utility and commercial properties.

Under the budget, the town will take $4.94 million from its $47.8 million fund balance accumulated from previous years of surplus to help cover anticipated revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like local governments across the country, North Hempstead has grappled with the fiscal pain stemming from the pandemic that has shrunk municipal revenue in areas ranging from sales taxes to park fees.

But the practice of using the fund balance to fill budget gaps is reserved for only limited circumstances, officials said.

"We chose to only appropriate fund balance for those one-off kind of events," Orenstein said in a previous interview. "We really kept our expenses as tight as we could. … We only wanted any tax increase to be for actual, needed operating increases."

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