Another reason to call Southampton Town Jay Schneiderman the man!
On Monday afternoon, he delivered his proposed budget to Town Clerk, Sundy Schermeyer. Said budget calls for a nearly 2-percent drop in the current property tax rate, the largest reduction in the tax rate in many years.
“We’ve looked back over the past ten years and this is by far the most significant reduction in the tax rate that has been seen,” said Supervisor Schneiderman.
Here’s the rest of the information contained in an email sent straight from the Supervisor’s office this afternoon:
The 10-page Budget Message contained in the document details the approach to the budget development. The Supervisor worked to stay within the Governor’s tax cap which allowed for less than 1% growth in the amount collected by the town in property taxes. This budget not only came in below the cap but actually decreased the tax rate by 1.6%. According to the budget message the Supervisor focused on public safety and quality of life issues as well as improving town infrastructure including roads and park facilities. The Supervisor called the budget, “structurally balanced and responsible”.
Supervisor Schneiderman thanked Town Comptroller Len Marchese for his assistance in developing the tentative budget. “This budget, as offered by Supervisor Schneiderman, continues the conservative budgeting of past administrations, while addressing some of our most valuable assets including employees, Town infrastructure and park facilities,” said Town Comptroller Len Marchese. Earlier this year, Moody’s Investment Services increased the Town’s credit rating to the highest level citing the strong financial management team at Town Hall among other factors.
The proposed budget offers several new positions; including one police officer and one public safety dispatcher paid from additional sales tax revenue secured from the County during Mr. Schneiderman’s tenure as Suffolk County Legislator for the region. The budget also calls for a Director of Public Safety and the Director of Housing and Community Development.
The proposed budget calls for the consolidation of Code Enforcement, Animal Control, the Fire Marshall and Emergency Preparedness into a newly created Department of Public Safety. In addition, the proposed budget creates an Office of Housing and Community Development as a division of the Department of Land Management.
The Supervisor said that both changes were needed to address quality of life complaints. The new Department of Public Safety will focus on addressing housing code violations while the new Housing Office will focus on creating code compliant affordable housing opportunities for our workforce.
The proposed Town budget provides $3.2 million in capital borrowing for road improvements and $1.4 million for park facility upgrades. The budget also proposes $1.3 million in major technology upgrades in town-wide computer networks. Although the budget calls for this additional borrowing, the overall level of outstanding town debt is actually being reduced by over $7 million. The budget maintains surpluses in every account, with a cumulative increase in surplus funds of over one million dollars above current levels.
The 800-page budget document is bound by a binder with a rendering of Good Ground Park on the cover. Good Ground Park, reflecting the original name of the Hampton Bays community, is scheduled to open on October 15th of this year and be fully operational by May 2017. The 36 acre park located north of Main Street features a 600 seat amphitheater and will offer a children’s playground and walking trails. The budget provides for the additional resources needed for the maintenance of the park facility.
The budget document will be formally presented to the Town Board at a Work Session scheduled this Thursday, September 20th at 10am. The Town Board will hold two works session on the budget October 6th and October 20th. Two public hearings on the proposed budget will be held on October 25th and November 9th. The budget may be amended through the budget process. However, it must be adopted by the Town Board or before November 20th. The full budget document can be viewed online at www.southamptontownny.gov .