Thanks to state funding for road repavement, along with restraints on spending and taxing issues, the Village of East Hills was able to produce a balanced budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year.
The budget, adopted last Monday night by the village board of trustees, results in $4,425,217 in expenditures with revenues standing at $1,150,669. Real property taxes will amount to $3,284,548. In announcing the budget, Village of East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz said the document would enable the village to "maintain its strong fiscal condition, economic viability, and excellent credit rating."
The 6.93 percent increase in spending was necessary due to several factors. More specifically, the mayor listed "the ever-escalating costs of fire protection, fireman service monetary awards, salaries, sanitation, insurance, road repairs, as well as the additional costs for the maintenance, repair, security, and upkeep of the newly acquired 50-acre property and the new 25,000 sq. ft. village hall at the former Roslyn Air National Guard site" as reasons for the moderate spending hike.
Likewise, due to commercial and residential tax certiorari proceedings, the village has been forced to change its tax rate to $9.88 per $100 of assessed value of properties. According to Mayor Koblenz, the new tax rate will result in an increase of a range between $48.00 to $156.80 or an $86.99 increase for the average East Hills homeowner. Overall village taxes, the mayor added, account for only 11 percent of a standard taxpayer's taxes.
On the spending side, $931,105 or 21 percent of the budget goes to the streets department, including paving, lighting, drainage, and a snow plow. Sixteen percent of the budget, totaling $722,485 will be spent on fire department items. Security forces and mechanisms for the village will amount to $614,00, while the sanitation budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year will total $495,358. Miscellaneous spending, which includes the budgets for employee benefits ($310,700), debt service ($205,294) and safety inspection ($220,173) will amount to 25 percent of appropriations.
Mayor Koblenz said that the village's "expanded sanitation program" has allowed the village to control costs in that department, resulting in $133,000 per year in savings. Concerning the security budget, the mayor said that effective May 1, 24 hour security at the Air National Guard property will now be handled by village employees. That change in services will result in $30,000 in savings.
Other than revenues generated by real property taxes, other revenue will come from an appropriated surplus ($344,320), departmental income ($299,763), state aid ($288,086), and a gross utilities tax ($95,000).
Among the capital projects completed by the village in the past fiscal year were the purchases of a road sweeper, a grass cutting tractor, and a repeater radio station. The biggest acquisition of all, was, of course, the Air National Guard Station. For the coming fiscal year, the village hopes to include street resurfacing, and the purchase of a tractor, electric lift, and a steam machine equipped with certain tools.