East Hampton Village proposes 7 percent budget increase

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East Hampton Village released a tentative budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year on Monday, May 5, proposing a 7.2-percent increase in spending that would push up the tax rate by estimated 4.51 percent.

The total budget is proposed to increase by nearly $1.2 million, from $16,619,350 to $17,813,841, which would bring the tax rate up from $24.35 per $100 of assessed property value to an estimated $25.45.

In a message included with the budget proposal on Monday, Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. wrote that the projected increase is mostly attributed to a $499,473 proposed increase in the police budget, a $338,615 jump in employee benefits, a $76,000 increase for spending on capital projects, and a $60,000 commercial district study.

The village’s proposed $975,000 capital projects budget, if approved, would provide $175,000 for highway equipment, $140,000 for a new ambulance, $200,000 in road improvements, $350,000 for repairs to the Main Beach pavilion, and $50,000 for installation of solar panels on the Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street.

Spending on public safety, which includes the village’s dispatching system, police force, fire department, and code enforcement account for $6.4 million or 36.2 percent of the proposed budget, and is proposed to increase by $609,945.

The proposed spending plan would allocate $195,000 for building maintenance on Village Hall, the Emergency Services Building, Main Beach pavilion, and other structures—about 36 percent less than what was included for building maintenance in last year’s budget.

The proposed spending increase of 7.2 percent is nearly identical to last year’s budget hike, and the expected tax-rate increase is slightly less than last year’s jump of 4.73 percent.

To cover its expenditures, the village proposes to collect $6.3 million, or 35.4 of the total budget, through fines and fees, dispatch services, property rentals, and other sources of income. About $10.9 million is proposed to be raised through taxes, and the village plans to have a $600,000 surplus.

The Village Board of Trustees is required by New York State law to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on or before June 15, and must vote on it no later than July 1. Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday that the board would set a date for the public hearing and vote at its May 16 meeting.

Andrew Bielak

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