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2012-13 Village Budget Approved

Tax increase set at 2.18 percent

Municipalities and school districts are struggling to stay under the inaugural 2 percent property tax cap enacted last summer by Governor Andrew Cuomo as budget conversations commence across the state. The passage prompted many villages, including Mineola, to activate a cap override, so the village would not incur heavy fines if it pierced the threshold.

The override puzzled residents and business owners alike, prompting questions if Mineola would finalize a budget in excess. The Mineola American first reported the tax levy increase was slightly over the cap.

After last week’s budget hearing, Mineola can rest easy.

The board of trustees unanimously approved the 2012-13 village budget on Thursday, April 12. The budget tax increase for the coming fiscal year is 2.18, with the total budget being set at $21,586,487.

The tax levy was finalized at $13,218,910. After all the mathematical rigmarole, Village Treasurer Giacomo Ciccone estimated the tax increase produces a $30 increase per household in property taxes. Last year, the village budget tax increase was set at 3.65 percent.

“We’re maintaining services,” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “The library board asked to increase some of their services and hours during the summer, which had no adverse affect on the budget. We’ll be getting service without hurting other [budget] lines.”

The MTA payroll tax to the village totaled $21,500 for the coming fiscal year, which adds up to about 0.1 percent of the budget. Resident Dennis Walsh thinks the tax, if eliminated, would bring Mineola down to the cap.

“So the MTA payroll tax is essentially the reason we’re over the cap? Unreal,” he stated. “This could basically be identified as the thorn in the side of this budget.”

State Senators Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) have been working to repeal for municipalities. The tax was repealed for small businesses, private and public schools last year.

Martins told the Mineola American that he and Zeldin tried to get the repeal bill into the recently $132.6 billion passed budget. The finance committee, according to Martins, is currently combing through the bill.

“I expect after we get back from this budget hiatus, they’ll be passing it,” Martins asserted. “We tried to get it into the budget. Unfortunately we couldn’t. There certainly is a priority making sure we exclude municipalities and property tax payers from having to pay it.”

Village legal fees topped off at $350,000, a $50,000 increase from the tentative budget released at the beginning of the month. Contingent special line items showcased a $50,000 decrease to $464,000. The village budgeted that line at $435,000 last year, but its year-to-date usage was zero.

“Once again, Mr. Ciccone, the mayor and the department heads…we have chosen the right course, which is to maintain services and be responsible,” trustee Paul Pereira said. “Of course, anyone can look at the budget and say we could’ve cut more. You can certainly take a slash and burn approach but at the end of the day, they get a bang for their buck here. This is responsible budgeting.”

According to Ciccone, New York State assessors informed Mineola that it would need to reclassify non-homestead village properties, which required a $86,752 payment in lieu of taxes. The assessed valuation of all properties in the village is $722,683,844, which creates the $30 per-household increase in the tax levy.

“We kept this as reasonable as we could,” trustee Larry Werther said. “When you take a look at it, you’re getting a lot here more than most places.”

News

Winthrop University Hospital employee Jeffrey Brenner, a hyperbaric technician with the Life Support Technologies group in Mineola, recently received the American Heart Association’s prestigious Louis J. Acampora Heart Saver Award at a dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The award is named for a Long Island teenager who succumbed to a sporting injury that is understood to have been preventable if a cardiac medical device had been immediately on-scene and applied. 

 

“I hope that I have made a real difference in my town and the world around me to help prevent death and improve the quality of people’s lives” said Brenner.

The Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com