The Sag Harbor Village Board adopted its 2014-15 budget on May 1 although no formal vote was taken, according to Village Mayor Brian Gilbride.
The $8.5 million budget became official, essentially, by default. According to Mayor Gilbride, the deadline to hold a formal vote on the budget is May 1. If no vote takes place prior to May 1, the spending plan presented at the board’s most recent meeting—in this case, back on April 2—is automatically adopted.
“I think it was a timing thing,” said Mayor Gilbride in a phone interview. “We had five public hearings on this. There was an effort to do some last-minute negotiating … and I did try to schedule a meeting.”
Mr. Gilbride said the public hearing for the budget closed on April 2, and he was having difficulty finding a mutual time to meet with the four other members of the board to continue negotiating and take a vote.
“We were shooting for a 4 p.m. meeting on Tuesday to pass the budget,” he said. “The only two people who responded to my email were me and Robby Stein … so we had to cancel it. Was it on short notice? Yes.”
Mr. Gilbride said while he believes “it’s a good budget,” it does not “do everything everyone wants,” saying he was speaking for himself as well.
Board member Kevin J. Duchemin and Vice President Robby Stein could not be reached for comment.
“We move forward,” said Mr. Gilbride. “And that’s it.”
The adopted budget stays under the New York State cap of 1.46 percent for tax levy increases, and represents a 2.86-percent tax rate increase from last year’s budget. According to the budget, for a home assessed at $795,000, homeowners paying $2,249.85 in taxes can expect to see a decrease of roughly $30 next year.
Mr. Gilbride said the adopted budget includes a full-time paid ambulance person, which was not included in last year’s budget. East Hampton Village also set aside money for paid emergency service personnel in next year’s budget.
Had a formal vote been held, said Mr. Gilbride, the end result would have probably been close to what was adopted.
“I’d say we could’ve made a couple of budget transfers, but it would’ve been close,” he said. “At the end of the day, there’s no cut in services, and it definitely stays in line with what the governor proposed. You have to do the best you can, and I think this budget does that.”