Written by Rich Forestano: email@example.com Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00
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 The tax was repealed for small businesses, private and public schools last year.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.”