The Village of East Hills Board of Trustees recently approved a $10,363,900 budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, one that according to Mayor Michael R. Koblenz proposes, "one of the lowest tax increases" in the village's 78-year history.
The budget, Koblenz said, contains a tax rate increase of 2.65 percent, with an operating budget increase of 2.31 percent.
"[The] lowest tax increase for a residence in East Hills will be $11.52 per year to the highest increase $218.66 per residence in the community for the entire fiscal year," Koblenz said in budget summary release.
On the spending side, Koblenz said that the budget's highest priority was the village's planned comprehensive effort to repave its roads. "We will implement the greatest road resurfacing program ever in East Hills," Koblenz claimed, adding that the work will be performed in the spring, summer, and fall of 2009. "The village will continue to patch streets with new equipment until the major roads are resurfaced."
In all, the mayor praised the village's "bare bones" budget, pointing to "rigorous" cost-cutting measures, freezes, and the elimination of further renovations for the Park at East Hills.
He also pointed to "strict limitations" on expenditures, increases in salaries, and the rejection of a merit-based increase program. That includes a freeze in pay for salaries for the mayor, members of the board of trustees, board committees, and members of the court system.
Koblenz added that the budget will continue "new and needed" legislative reforms, including the enactment of more restrictive measures to address cell towers. The village, as noted elsewhere in this edition, is debating the application to construct cell tower antennas at a building on Glen Cove Road.
While there will be no new renovations at the Park at East Hills, the village is still planning its first "Olympiad" in the history of the village at that facility. This fiscal year will also see the continuation of the village's one-time free sanitation pick up program, its Architectural Review Board, the enforcement of zoning regulations for home sizes, the Mayor's Softball Tournament, the second year of its Tennis League, federally mandated storm water requirements, a flu shot program, seniors programs, a beautification program, and "essential" tree planting, in which dead or dying trees are removed from village property, and trees are pruned to remove dead branches.
"While we strive to constantly improve [services], we are also constrained by the need to control taxes and limit spending," Koblenz concluded. "Through this budget we have balanced these concerns. We have restrained our desire to expand and therefore limited our costs and severely limited any increase in taxes for our residents."