Westhampton Beach Village Adopts $9.52 Million Budget

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Westhampton Beach Village trustees have unanimously adopted a $9.52 million spending plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year that will stay under the state-mandated cap on tax levy increases and maintain all current positions and programs in the municipality.

At a special meeting before their last work session on April 17, board members adopted the plan, which increases overall spending by 2 percent over this year’s $9.33 million budget. Under the new budget, the tax levy is expected to increase by 1.99 percent, from almost $7.76 million this year to just over $7.91 million next year, according to a copy of the plan.

The village’s tax rate is expected to increase by about 5 percent, from $2.68 to $2.81 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That means that a taxpayer whose home is assessed at $1 million can expect to pay about $2,810 in village property taxes next year, or $130 more than this year.

“I’m happy they adopted the budget,” Mayor Conrad Teller said this week. “It is a good budget, and we will be able to perform the duties we are supposed to.”

The largest increases in the plan fall under the village’s state retirement and employee benefit contributions. Contributions to the retirement system are increasing by $325,000, or 39 percent, to $1.15 million, while employee benefit contributions are jumping by 14 percent, from $2.48 million this year to $2.83 million next year.

The budget line for the Westhampton Beach Police Department, meanwhile, is decreasing by about 2.5 percent, from $2.36 million this year to $2.30 million next year.

The village’s fiscal year runs from June 1 until May 31.
New Clerk Still A Mystery
Mr. Teller still has not announced who he will pick to replace outgoing Village Clerk/Treasurer Rebecca Molinaro when she leaves her position at the end of this month.

The appointment was expected to be announced two weeks ago, prior to the trustees meeting on April 4, but was held at the last minute by Mr. Teller. He has never explained why he pulled the resolution.

At the same meeting, the trustees began discussing the possibility of eliminating the clerk/treasurer position in favor of hiring a village administrator—a move the mayor has said he opposes. Board members would be able to hire a village administrator; at the present time, they have no say in who the mayor can pick for the village clerk post.

It is unclear when Mr. Teller intends to announce who will replace Ms. Molinaro, who will start her village administrator position in East Hampton Village on May 1.

The other trustees have also stalled on another resolution that sought to rehire former Village Clerk Kathy McGinnis, who retired in December 2010, at a rate of $60 an hour so she could train Ms. Molinaro’s replacement. Introduced by Deputy Mayor Hank Tucker, the walk-on resolution ignited a heated exchange at the meeting on April 4 during which current Deputy Clerk Elizabeth Lindtvit—one of seven people who has interviewed for the job—stood up and stated that she would refuse to work with Ms. McGinnis again.

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