Yes, unfortunately, Village taxes were increased this year. While we have been proud to keep tax increases to a minimum over the years, this year was extremely difficult due to a tremendous loss in revenue.
While we were able to absorb a ($10,000.00) ten thousand dollar loss in State Aid last year, the over ($100,000.00) one hundred thousand dollar loss in State Aid this year due to the Governor’s budget cuts hit us extremely hard. Apparently, the Governor must believe that we have a lot of excess to cut in our budget. Nothing could be further from the truth. Where is that loss in revenue supposed to be made up? It’s obvious that little thought or consideration was put into the decision to cut State Aid pretty much across the board for Long Island. While those in Albany have retained many millions of dollars from Long Island, to make it appear that they are doing a great job with money management, we in turn look bad for having to raise taxes.
Along with the redistribution of taxes at the State level, we also had a large loss of revenue with our recycling. We now receive no proceeds for our recycling materials. Whereas we previously had a contract for years with Brookhaven to be paid for recycling, we now receive nothing due to a lack of interest from those that purchase the recycling from the Town.
Yes, we raised taxes out of necessity, but a quick look at your Village tax bill can be deceiving. Part of the increase on the bill is for garbage removal and dumping fees, which is a pass-through. That money is for garbage removal only and is used for that purpose alone and is not part of taxes to maintain services. An increase in dumping fees due to the weight of the addition of glass, which is no longer accepted for recycling in our garbage is responsible for most of the increase. Removing the garbage fees from your tax bill and then comparing the balance to last year’s bill with garbage fees removed will give an accurate picture of how much your village taxes have increased.
In an effort to keep the increase as low as possible, we had to supplement our revenue side of the budget with a significant amount of money from surplus. These dollars that we keep in surplus are reserved for such adversities like the ones that have occurred this year. It is my hope that we don’t have to dig that deep again in the years to come. You can only go to the well so many time before it runs dry.
I apologize for any possible personal hardships that these increases may have caused and we will continue to do our best to keep our budgets as reasonable as possible while maintaining service to the highest standards that we can.
Working together with other Villages and Towns, we are letting our representatives in Albany know how displeased we are with their budgetary cuts and their lack of support for their constituents that pay some of the highest taxes in the nation.
Very Truly Yours,
Robert J Scottaline, Mayor