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Town Spending to Increase by $1.84 Million

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 12:51

With little discussion, the East Hampton Town Board voted on Tuesday to approve the town’s 2020 operating budget.

The $81.8 million budget differs only slightly from the tentative budget presented in September. With Len Bernard, the budget officer, the board had made only minor modifications before and after a preliminary budget hearing two weeks ago.

Overall spending increases by $1.84 million, or a little more than 2 percent. Through taxes, $54,523,947 will be raised, up slightly over 3 percent from 2019. The town is $17,874 below the state-imposed 2 percent tax levy cap, Mr. Bernard said yesterday.

“The budget uses a reasonable amount of surplus and reserves to moderate the tax levy and tax rates, while still maintaining a projected total surplus through year-end 2020 of 50 percent,” said a Sept. 30 statement from Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s office.

A total of $8,500 in salary has been added for two employees, one in the town clerk’s office and one in the tax receiver’s office. A new part-time position — a greeter, to be stationed at the Town Hall entrance during the summer months — was proposed but later eliminated. The position of town engineer has also been eliminated.

The tax rate for residents living outside an incorporated village will be $31.499 per $100 of assessed value, an approximate 2.9 percent increase. For those living within a village, the rate is $12.005 per $100 of assessed value, or an approximate 1.6 percent increase. As an example, Mr. Bernard said at the Nov. 7 preliminary hearing that for a property assessed at $4,000 — about a $700,000 market value — the increase will be around $27 for those living outside a village; $7.60 for those within one.

The budget sets salaries for the town’s employees. Carole Brennan, the clerk, and Mr. Bernard listed several of them at the Nov. 7 preliminary hearing. Mr. Van Scoyoc is compensated at $113,490 per year. Each of his four colleagues on the town board is paid $70,932. Justice Steven Tekulsky and Justice Lisa R. Rana are each paid $82,422. Ms. Brennan’s salary is $95,669.

Stephen Lynch, the superintendent of highways, also receives $95,669 per year. Jeanne Nielsen, chairwoman of assessors, is paid $91,035. The assessors Jill Massa and Eugene DePasquale are each paid $82,203. Francis Bock, clerk of the town trustees, receives $23,201 per year. Jim Grimes and Bill Taylor, the trustees’ deputy clerks, are paid $19,313. Their six colleagues are each compensated at $8,221.

Mr. Bernard also told the town board on Nov. 7 that he had received a call from the state comptroller’s office earlier that day about the tentative budget, which is audited and reviewed by that office each year. “Basically, they agree with our estimates of revenue, our estimates of expenses, and they feel our budget is reasonable. We got a clean bill of health from them today.”

Correction: In the print edition, the headline incorrectly stated the spending increase was $84 million. The Star regrets the error.

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