FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2016
MEDIA CONTACTS: Carole Trottere, Rebecca Cheng, Sam Marksheid, and Vicki DiStefano | (516) 869-7794
Town’s 2017 Budget Approved before Election Day
North Hempstead, NY – North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board members approved the Town’s 2017 budget last night, 6-1, which will give many North Hempstead taxpayers a slight reduction in their tax bill due to a one-time adjustment resulting from the implementation of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) 2013 Reform Act. Council Members Viviana L. Russell, Peter J. Zuckerman, Angelo P. Ferrara, Anna M. Kaplan and Lee R. Seeman all voted in support of the budget plan. Council Member Dina DeGiorgio voted no. For the third consecutive year, the budget was approved with a bi-partisan vote and fulfilled Supervisor Bosworth’s promise, made when she was elected in 2013, to vote on the budget prior to Election Day. The $102.6 million budget (General Fund and Town Outside Village Fund) is a balanced and fiscally conservative plan that stays under the New York State tax cap. The Town’s Solid Waste Management Authority’s $17.8 million budget also passed unanimously.
The Town’s 2017 budget includes a $67.2 million General Fund, a $35.2 million Town Outside Village (TOV) Fund, and $24.04 million for the 20 Town-Operated Special Districts (TOSDs). For residents living in incorporated villages, the General Fund Budget represents a $5.38 annual decrease for the average household.
For residents living in the unincorporated areas of the Town, who also pay the TOV tax, the decrease represents $47.17 per year for the average household. Approximately two thirds of the overall reduction is related to a one-time LIPA adjustment.
“Putting together a prudent fiscal plan for the Town is a challenge under the State tax cap, but I believe that we have succeeded in passing a budget that reflects the best interests of North Hempstead’s taxpayers, protects our environment and offers vast recreational resources,” said Supervisor Bosworth. “We have a deep obligation to our residents to provide the services they expect and deserve, while also being fiscally responsible. This 2017 budget fulfills those responsibilities.”
The Effect of the LIPA Reform Act
The county planned to remove LIPA properties from regular tax rolls for the first time in 2016 to comply with the state’s 2013 LIPA Reform Act. The Reform Act allows LIPA to make Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) and holds these payments to a 2% tax cap. However, the tax LIPA would have paid was inadvertently left on the tax roll in 2016, generating a small amount of additional tax revenue for the Town. Adjustments were made to the 2017 budget to return this money to the taxpayers in the form of a slight decrease in their property taxes in 2017 for many households.
The 2017 Budget Plan
Under the 2017 plan, several Town units will be repositioned under different Town departments to better align services and increase efficiency. These changes include repositioning the Town’s Security division moving from Public Safety to under the Parks and Recreation Department, as well as moving Purchasing, Grants and TownStat moving into the Supervisor's Office. The Town’s snow removal budget received additional funding for 2017. The budget also reflects the Supervisor’s stated commitment to pursue environmental initiatives, including money for the Office of Sustainability to fund an inter-municipal program aimed at reducing contaminated storm-water runoff into the Town’s bays and estuaries.
In 2017 the Town will cease its reliance on the State’s pension loan program and continue to reduce its debt. Since the start of the Bosworth administration the Town has reduced its debt by $36 million, while maintaining the high level of services that our residents have come to expect.
The Town’s Parks and Recreation Department will continue to provide world-class concerts, multicultural events and myriad recreational opportunities. Programming provided by the Department of Community Services will continue to make life more enjoyable for residents. Services provided to senior citizens through the Department of Services for the Aging (DOSA) and its Project Independence program will continue to be a national model by providing numerous services and programs for the Town’s seniors, including transportation services for grocery shopping and doctor appointments.
In September independent Wall Street bond rating agency Moody's Investors Service, Inc., reaffirmed the Town’s Aa1 rating with a positive outlook. These positive ratings, based on the Town’s conservative fiscal management practices and its reduction of debt by $32 million, translate into lower interest rates on Town borrowing and savings for taxpayers.
View the 2017 budget here: http://www.northhempsteadny.gov/tonh-budgets