A minor adjustment to the 2009-2010 Sagaponack budget was announced at the public hearing during the Sagaponack Board of Trustees work session on Monday, April 13. Previously the tentative assessed number, or value of all the property within Sagaponack, was estimated at $3,205, 489,175. This figure has been adjusted to $3,248,127,420 – which is the final assessment number, said Sagaponack Village Clerk Rhodi Cary Winchell.
Although this adjustment could have ratcheted up the budget and tax rate, the board was committed to keeping the budget down and tax rate low. The Sagaponack budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be $548,809, a number slightly lower than last year’s budget of $552,873. In turn, this reduction translates to a decreased tax rate for Sagaponack home and property owners. When the budget was first presented, Sagaponack Mayor Don Louchheim said an owner of a home with an assessed valuation of $1 million will pay $82.80 in village property taxes, while last year the same homeowner would have paid $83.40 in village property taxes.
In order to keep these same rates, the board made a few changes to the budget.
“What we did was adjust the revenues down on the projected revenue from mortgage tax . . . It is a big guess . . . but we certainly want to be conservative [in this area],” said Winchell, who added the economic slump negatively affected the number of property purchases from which the mortgage tax is derived. With the tentative budget, the mortgage tax revenue was estimated at $195,500.
“We are assuming sales on property has taken a plunge,” said Winchell. The projected revenue for the mortgage tax in the final budget is projected at $191,500.
In addition, the projected interest on the village’s debt services was reduced by $14.
The finalized budget will most likely be adopted during the upcoming board meeting on Monday, April 20.
“Unless the board feels they need to change something, [the budget will be adopted],” said Winchell. “But the board hasn’t given me any indication that this is the case.”
The board is also eyeing passing a local law to allow alternate members of the Zoning Board of Appeals attend meetings in the place of regular members, in order to reach a quorum on the board. The mayor would appoint the alternate members, but it would be subject to the approval of the trustees. Appointing alternate members to the board is common practice at neighboring local municipalities, including North Haven. According to North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch, the local law allowing alternate ZBA members was passed almost twenty years ago, at a time when many elderly board members would spend the winter months is Florida. North Haven Village allows alternates for the planning board as well. A public hearing on the adoption of this law in Sagaponack is slated for May 18 at 4 p.m.
During the Monday Sagaponack board meeting the trustees will weigh in on several outdoor assembly permits and special events permits, including one for the Five Borough Bicycle Club, who plans on cycling through the village on Town Line Road into Wainscott.
On a final note, the board announced a special memorial service for Sagaponack vintner Christian Wolffer – to be held this Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard and Stables. Wolffer, an active member of the East End community, died on December 31, 2008 after a swimming accident in Brazil. His funeral was held in January but the Wolffer family wanted to host a public memorial service “for all those wishing to pay their respects,” said the Wolffer’s in a letter addressed to the board.