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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 The tax was repealed for small businesses, private and public schools last year.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

Way before Home Depot or Ace Hardware came into existence, there were little mom-and-pop shops like Munder’s True Value on Hillside Avenue in Williston Park. The hardware store, which opened its doors in 1948, is somewhat of a suburban dinosaur having outlasted several other hardware stores in the area.

 

“My father, Charles, opened this store in 1948 after returning home from World War II,” said Bill Munder, who took over the store operation seven years ago. “His parents wanted to know his plans after he returned home from the marines and he decided to open this store on Hillside Avenue.”

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from the Mineola School District showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, Mineola had some of the lowest numbers, with eight students opting out of the English Language Arts test. However, not a single Mineola student missed the math test. In East Williston, the opt out rates were 75 students in ELA and 60 in math.


Sports

The New York Cosmos hosted the Mineola Athletic Association’s Soccer Club recently for its penultimate fall 2014 home game. More than 140 members of the MAA soccer club and their families came out on a chilly October evening to show their love of the game. Twenty-two Mineola boys and girls had the honor of escorting the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury players onto the field in the traditional “Walk of Champions.”

 

The Mineola spirit must have inspired the home team, as spectators enjoyed the exciting 2-1 Cosmos victory, with the game-winning goal coming in stoppage time.


As a current member of the Mineola High School Varsity Soccer team, senior, Catherine Cunningham has been dominating the scoring for the Mustangs.  She has 12 goals and two assists in the last seven games. 

 

In her last week of play alone, she amassed six goals in just three games. As a captain for the last two years, Cunningham has been an All-Conference and All-Class player, leading her team to two victories so far this season. 


Calendar

Exercise Class - October 22

International Night - October 23

Village Halloween Party - October 24


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