Written by Joe Scotchie Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:16
The Village of East Hills, which has the largest budget in all of the villages in the Roslyn area, has managed to approve its third consecutive budget without a tax increase.
The approved budget spends more than the 2012-2013 budget, but about the same amount as the 2011-2012 document. Total expenditures are $11,169,648. For instance, the total legislative budget stands at $101,108, more than the $69,823 in actual expenditures as of February 2013, but nearly the same as the $96,769 allotted in the 2011-2012 budget. Likewise, the total Administration and Staff budget for the Government Support segment is $697,000, similar to the $672,322 for 2011-2012. In addition, the board found decreases in the assessment, legal, engineering, public health and publicity portions of the budget.
There are exceptions. A Special Items segment costs $792,000, significantly more than expenditures in the last two budgets. That in turn, caused the Government Support budget to come in at $2,390,988, also an increase from the 2012-2013 budget. Increases in the Public Safety, Transportation, Home & Community Services and Employee Benefits segments saw modest increases from the 2011-2012 budget. Other segments of the budget, including Culture & Recreation, Debt Service and the small Economic Assistance & Opportunity budget saw increases in expenditures from last year’s budget, but decreases from the 2011-2012 budget. The Culture & Recreation budget includes items for the vital Park at East Hills budget. This year’s budget stands at $947,081, down from 2011-2012’s $955,742 total.
As always, property taxes remain the chief source of revenue. The village hopes to collect $7,803,951 through such revenue. Other revenue comes from usual sources: Departmental Income ($808,177), State Aid ($250, 553), Gross Utilities Tax ($266,325), plus what the village claims will be an Appropriate Surplus, which is set for $1,899,966. The big surplus is probably how the village manages to hold the line on taxes.
In his budget message, Mayor Michael Koblenz praised his fellow trustees for achieving the no tax increase budget. He also claimed that the usual village services will remain intact, especially those at The Park At East Hills.
“We have accomplished this by minimizing staff, maximizing the useful life of cars and equipment, freezing or granting modest cost of living increases in salaries and compensation, refusing to increase compensation paid to experts and professionals, and continuing to benefit from the savings each year realized by refinancing the bonds,” the mayor said. “In addition, we will not proceed with any proposal that will potentially cost the village sums amounting to $700,000 or more without State or Federal grants. These include, but are not limited to, replacement, upgrade or demolition of facilities.”
The mayor also thanked State Sen. Jack Martins for a grant that allowed the village to purchase a generator to provide electrical power to Village Hall and the Theatre during emergencies and electrical outages.
“This budget provides the means to pay for a permanent installation [of a generator] and a solution to meet the extreme weather that we now experience,” the mayor added.
In his message, the mayor also said that the village’s “finest” services, including sanitation, security, road repavement, tree trimming and removal, plus all the amenities at The Park at East Hills, would be continued. More specifically, the mayor said park maintenance would include painting the pool, plus plantings and grass care. Additionally, there would be a special pick-up program that allows residents to discard unnecessary items and a beautification program that would include tree and flower planting projects. The village, the mayor added, would prune and/or replace dangerous trees.
“With Moody’s declaring our village economically sound and issuing one of the highest bond ratings for any village our size, we have continued the course of keeping East Hills on the highest fiscal footing,” the mayor claimed. “This budget that the board has implemented reflects a zero increase in taxes. It is an accomplishment we are proud of. Our board has set the goal of controlling expenses in spite of a climate of rising healthcare costs, unfunded mandates such as cleaning Glen Cove Road and increased labor costs.”