The Village of Greenport passed a 2023-24 budget that raised property taxes by nearly 17 percent after the village council voted unanimously to breach the 2 percent state budget cap.

The village is looking to make up a shortfall of about $150,000, board members said at a special budget meeting last month.

Since 2012, municipalities in New York State have been limited Raise taxes at the lesser of inflation or 2%, with provisions for local governments to override the cap.

Greenport tax increase means $3.50 increase for every $100 in assessments, according to the budget release on the village website. Since the taxable village portion is 0.70% of the property’s total assessed value, the annual tax on a property assessed at $500,000 would increase by $122.50. For a home appraised at $250,000, the tax increase is $61.25.

Village treasurer Stephen Gaffga told a special meeting on April 28 that the money would be “screened” through various funds. “We’re going to add that to the operating budget of the Roads Department, Mitchell’s Wharf, McCann’s, the various parks in our village, and supplement some of our administrative costs,” he said, “while enhancing some of our code enforcement and safety checks so that They can operate in a better way.”

Newly-elected Mayor Kevin Stuessi also noted at the meeting that the board intends to hire an economic manager to write the grant.

Responding to a question from trustee Mary Bess Phillips about the specific goals of the economic administrator, Mr Stuessi said the full job description was forthcoming, adding that “my belief and hope is that this individual will be Work at your own expense.”

The exact tax increase – 16.97 per cent – comes in a year when school taxes are expected to rise by 9 per cent if the proposed school budget passes Tuesday’s election.

Trustee Patrick Brennan said the village has obligations it must meet, and the only way to meet those obligations and move the village forward is to raise taxes.

“My take on this is that we’ve just had a long period of low or zero tax growth, certainly below inflation, and that’s [been] There are pros and cons,” he said. “Personally, lower taxes are good because it lowers their cost of living. But this is bad for the whole village as it leaves the village underfunded. We can see this in the deferred maintenance of our facilities. “

Mr Brennan noted that the board needed the money because “we also face the challenge of attracting or retaining key village staff.”​​

In an interview with the Suffolk Times on his final day in office, former Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. touted keeping taxes low as one of his major accomplishments.

“In total, taxes have only increased 6% over the past eight years,” he said at the time. “Like other places with a 2 per cent tax cap, we could have gone up 16 per cent over eight years, but we’ve only gone up 6 per cent.”

At last month’s meeting, Mr Brennan appeared to be addressing his residents directly, saying: “We have a responsibility to make sure this tax money is spent wisely. Be as prudent and sensible as possible in taxes.”

In an interview after the meeting, Ms Phillips said the tax increase was necessary and would be used to fund essential services such as regular rubbish collection at bins in town centres, village parks and beaches, and vital equipment for village employees, who It was having to “beg for the equipment needed for day-to-day operations”.

“I think this election shows loud and clear that villagers expect the board to deliver the services they want,” Ms Phillips said.

The increased tax rate will also help fund the $2 hourly raise for all full-time village employees, which was passed under the previous village council.

“We have to give them a livable [pay] rates,” Ms Phillips said.

Other considerations for raising the tax include dealing with unforeseen “sudden” expenses, such as the recent discovery of lead paint on horses in the village carousel in Mitchell Park, which she said is expected to cost the village between $40,000 and $50,000 for improvements. .

Ms. Phillips said she knew the rate hike might come as a bit of a shock to some residents, but pointed out that double-digit increases were not unprecedented in Greenport — citing the former mayor’s 18-year law passed in 2007-2008. % property tax hike David Nyce’s first year in office.

Still, she said, the board recognizes the burden on residents.

“The last government — when they came up with the budget — they did leave some money on the table to keep taxes low,” she said, referring to the previous mayor’s two terms. “In hindsight, maybe that wasn’t the best option.”

Mr. Stuessi said at the meeting that the board was working on a capital plan to value all assets in the village, “in terms of legally listing everything, building by building and prioritizing [projects] … Mitchell Park Arena, the bulkhead,” he said.

He said he expected funds would be needed to complete waterfront park repairs, which he classified as “very critical.”

“There [are] Many things are very critical and Mitchell Park is a big deal,” he said. “I did all the paving with our contractor and there were a lot of places where not only had the grout failed between the stones, but water had seeped under the stones and cause damage. “

In an interview this week, Mr Stuessi said, “It’s important to note that over the past eight years we have not kept pace with the basic cost of living.

“So, as we all know, inflation is severe in many ways and our overall spending has increased significantly.”

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