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 The tax was repealed for small businesses, private and public schools last year.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

Mill Creek Residential, a multifamily apartment developer, announced last week that Hudson House, an age and income exclusive 36-apartment community, located at 104 Front St. in Mineola is open for occupancy. Senior affordable homes are eligible for applicants 55 years of age or older and households earning at or below 80 percent of the area median income for Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hudson House has received 16 applications so far, according to Mill Creek Vice President Jamie Stover.

A few months ago, while returning to my car after attending a wake, I was surprised to catch a glimpse of something that immediately brought me back to my elementary school days. Directly in front of me stood a portion of the original concrete wall that had surrounded my alma mater.

 

In 1922, Corpus Christi Church purchased the Robert Graves estate on Searing Avenue and transformed its building into a parish school. It was a beautiful structure of Spanish-style architecture surrounded by the concrete wall, sporting huge ornate iron gates.


Sports

Mineola runners PJ Diskin, Kaitlin Phelps, and Yuri Karasz were award winners in the Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9.

The Mineola 9U Hurricanes recently completed its summer baseball season as the NJBL 9U Central Division Champions, finishing 10-2-1 on the year and secured a second place spot entering the playoffs.

The Hurricanes beat the North Shore Spartans for the fourth time this season in a playoff win in walk-off fashion as they came from behind to win 4-3 earning the Hurricanes a berth into the championship series. 


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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