East Hampton Town Board Adopts $64 Million Budget

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The East Hampton Town Board adopted a 2011 budget on Thursday night with only slight revisions to the plan originally submitted by Supervisor Bill Wilkinson on September 30.

The $64.06 million budget will reduce spending by 10.7 percent and sharply reduce taxes by 17 percent for town residents and 20.1 percent for residents of East Hampton and Sag Harbor Villages.

The final figure is an increase of $155,000 over the supervisor’s preliminary budget. That $155,000 includes an increase of $20,000 for some social services programs and a fisheries consultant as well as an $135,000 adjustment to the cost of retiree health insurance.

After thanking Budget Officer Len Bernard, the public and the Town Board, Mr. Wilkinson said he wanted to thank the managers of the various town departments for supporting the belt tightening and “recognizing that we have a new way of doing business in this town.”

“And it doesn’t stop here, continuing reforms are essential to good government,” he said.

The preliminary budget met with some resistance from the public. At recent work sessions and a hearing on the budget, there was a public outcry over cuts in social services, the fisheries lobbyist and the elimination of the town leaf pickup program and an afterschool homework club.

Councilman Dominick Stanzione and Councilwoman Julia Prince had proposed adding back $60,000 to restore additional social services programs, but that proposal was scaled back to a $20,000 increase.

Among those additions were an increase of $4,500 for a subcontractor for the town’s senior nutrition program, from $3,500 to $8,000; an increase of $5,000 for the East Hampton Day Care from $75,000 to $80,000; and $5,000 for the East Hampton Food Pantry. Another $5,000 went to increasing the amount for fisheries consultant from $10,000 to $15,000.

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