East Hampton Ended 2010 With Surplus

    The Town of East Hampton ended last year with at least $5.9 million in surplus from the 2010 budget, the town supervisor, Bill Wilkinson, announced in a press release last week.
    The surplus was the result of a variety of measures, he said, including “not filling 18 funded positions, cutting back in all areas of budgeted spending (travel, conferences, computers, and various equipment), reaching an industry standard labor settlement with police, cutting back on vehicle usage, and seeing over 30 individuals take advantage of an early retirement incentive.”
    “All department heads and town employees who tightened their belts and did more with less in 2010 are to be commended for greatly assisting in bringing us to this historic point in the town’s recovery,” he wrote.
    The $5.9 million will be added to a total of $21.2 million in bonds issued to cover the town’s accumulated deficit, which was certified by the state comptroller at $27.2 million as of the end of 2009, when financial affairs began to be put back in order.
    Last Thursday, the town sold $11.7 million in deficit-financing bonds and got a “very good” interest rate, of 2.7 percent, according to the press release, comparable with rates given recently to bond sales by Rockland and Suffolk Counties.
    With the permanent financing in place, Mr. Wilkinson said that the process of making whole the town funds that were misused by the previous administration can be completed. The town has already returned $4 million to the community preservation fund and $5.8 million to the capital fund, he said.
    Additional surplus from 2010 will be put into reserves established recently to cover future expenses, and to develop a general fund reserve of up to 5 percent, as recommended by the town’s financial advisers.