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Posted on: September 30, 2014

Supervisor’s 2015 Tentative Budget Proposes Holding the Line on Taxes for Fifth Consecutive Year

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2014
Contact: Jennifer Garvey
(631) 283-6055

Supervisor’s 2015 Tentative Budget Proposes
Holding the Line on Taxes for Fifth Consecutive Year

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst today filed her 2015 Tentative Budget which proposes a 0% tax levy increase and bottom line total of $­­­­­­­100,400,000 in appropriations, easily qualifying the Town for compliance with the state mandated 1.5% tax cap.

In the proposed budget, the Town’s overall property tax levy is $­­66.1 million, the same as the 2014 Adopted property tax levy.

“As a result of nearly five years of truly conservative fiscal practices, our Town is in an especially strong financial position, allowing us to make investments in important capital projects and to enhance the capabilities of existing services in response to growing community needs,” said Throne-Holst.   

Under the proposed budget, priority capital projects include:

  • Upgrading town-wide police emergency communication
  • Continuing to upgrade computerized operations
  • Maintaining the Highway Capital Program consistent with prior year’s levels
  • Funding for Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays
  • Funding the demolition and installation of a new pier at Ponquogue Bridge
  • Funding for new bay constable vessels
  • Funding for Park and Town facility improvements
  • Funding to upgrade Town fuel management systems

Also included in the Operational Budget are eight new positions including:

  • Two police officers and one police tech support position for Town Police Department
  • One ordinance officer in Code Enforcement
  • One environmental analyst in the Environmental Division of Land Management
  • Two auto equipment operators and one mechanic in the Highway Department

Additionally, the Operational Budget provides:

  • Funds for a special prosecutor assigned specifically to code enforcement issues
  • Funding in the Town Clerk’s budget for the 375th anniversary celebrations of the Town
  • Funds for a contract with Stony Brook University to develop water quality protection strategies

In her budget presentation the Supervisor also touched on a unique question the Town faced in light of its extraordinary fund balance of 32 percent (or $29 million), well beyond the Town’s required minimum of 17 percent – a level already considered conservative by municipal standards.

“As a result of efficient operations, careful treasury management, and higher than projected revenues, we have accumulated sizeable fund balance – or rainy days funds. The state is offering household rebates equivalent to the increase in the tax levy for municipalities that stay under the tax cap, which we can easily do. However, it is only a one year rebate, and we have more than enough fund balance to comfortably justify using these rainy days funds rather than increasing the tax levy. At the end of the day, should we take advantage of the rebate program, we would still be raising taxes, but not feeling the impact until a later year,” she said. 

“I’ve proposed keeping the levy flat and appropriating some fund balance, but the state rebate program creates an unusual situation, and one that I’m open to discussing together with my Town Board colleagues,” she added.    

The financial policies and practices which are continued in the proposed budged were key factors in Standard & Poor awarding the Town of Southampton its highest possible rating – AAA – in June of 2014. Southampton is one of only two towns on Long Island to have such a rating. 

“I have continually promised our residents a balanced, sustainable, fair, and realistic budget that protects them from increased taxes, as well as provides the services they expect. In presenting this Tentative Budget, I am again honoring that promise,” she said. 

The Supervisor made a formal budget presentation to the Town Board during a Special Town Board Meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 30.  The budget is posted online at http://www.southamptontownny.gov.

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