East End Budget Season Is Upon Us

This is The Beacon's stock town budget photo. If the budgets start to bother you, just look at the photo.
This is The Beacon’s stock town budget photo. If the budgets start to bother you, just look at the photo.

All of the East End towns’ preliminary budgets are set, and most are expected to be up for public hearing in the coming weeks, before they are adopted by the state-mandated deadline of Nov. 20.

The details of the budget proposals in each of the five East End towns are as follows:

Southampton Town

The Southampton Town Board has already held one public hearing on the preliminary 2017 budget on Oct. 25 at the Hampton Bays Community Center. The second public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. at Town Hall.

The budget calls for a nearly 2 percent drop in the property tax rate, the largest reduction in more than a decade.

Mr. Schneiderman formally submitted his tentative $94.7 million budget at a Town Board work session Sept. 22. It was converted to the preliminary budget at a special town board meeting on Oct. 6.

The town’s preliminary budget is available online here.

Riverhead Town

The Riverhead Town Board has voted to pierce the state tax cap this year, passing a local law required to pierce the cap after no public comment at a hearing Oct. 18.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter’s tentative $54.4 million budget carries a tax levy increase of 4.8 percent, which he attributes mostly to the town’s ongoing debt on closing its Youngs Avenue landfill.

The Riverhead Town Board will hold a public hearing on the budget itself at their Nov. 1 meeting at 2 p.m. The town’s tentative budget is online here.

East Hampton Town

East Hampton Town’s 2017 Tentative Operating Budget stays within the town’s restrictive New York State tax levy cap of 1.32 percent.

“This was accomplished despite a substantial increase in costs for health insurance and modest wage increases. At the same time, the town’s financial rating continues to improve, matching its highest level since 2003,” says Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell in his budget statement.

The $75.14 million budget carries a tax rate increase of of 1.087 percent for properties outside of incorporated villages, and a tax rate decrease of 3.945 percent for properties inside villages, according to the budget statement.

Mr. Cantwell said the total budget increase of $1,357,581 is attributable largely to employee salaries and benefits. Despite the fact that new employees are now required to contribute between 15 and 20 percent of their health insurance premiums., the estimated 7.5 percent cost increase in health insurance premiums is expected to cost the town $800,000 more next year.

East Hampton Town’s preliminary 2017 budget is online here. The town’s budget hearing will be held at their regular meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Southold Town

Southold Town has already voted to pierce the state tax cap with their 2017 budget, owing to insurance increases and necessary repairs to the town’s roads.

The town has proposed a 7.57 percent tax increase with its proposed $43.5 million 2017 budget.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell will be devoting his Nov. 2 evening office hours, from 6 to 8 p.m., to constituents who have questions about next year’s budget. Please call 631.765.1889 to make an appointment to speak with the supervisor.

Southold Town’s budget hearings will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the town hall meeting room.

The full budget is available online here.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty turned in a $10.6 million preliminary 2017 budget, “which would increase the tax levy by about 2.8 percent over this year to help pay for a forecasted 8 to 10 percent increase in health insurance premiums, higher workers compensation premiums as well as to pay for union and non-union compensation increases and again budgeting $130,000 for the proper maintenance of Shelter Island’s roads,” according to the supervisor’s budget statement.

The Shelter Island Town Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at 1 p.m. on Nov. 9 and has a target date of adopting the budget at its regular meeting November 18.

Shelter Island’s preliminary 2017 budget is not yet online, but when it is it will be available here. The preliminary budget is currently available in the town clerk’s office.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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