The tentative 2012-2013 budget for the Village of Sag Harbor will result in a one-percent increase in taxes for village residents, according to treasurer Eileen Touhy.
With a projected 1.4-percent increase in the tax levy, the amount of money the village needs to raise through property taxes to fund the budget has not exceeded a state-mandated two-percent property tax cap, noted Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride during a budget work session last Thursday. In fact, it is one of the only municipalities on the East End that has not passed a resolution allowing it to pierce the tax cap.
“I think we have done pretty well,” said Mayor Gilbride on Tuesday. “But I wouldn’t want to cut anything more. Already we have some projects that we are expecting will cost more than we originally anticipated.”
The proposed 2012-2013 budget is for $8,056,311 in the general fund, which is a 2.78-percent increase over the 2011-2012 budget. In addition to paring down the budget over the last month, the village board of trustees had also chosen to use $30,000 of the $2.1 million in reserve to offset an increase in taxes.
Mayor Gilbride said outside of property taxes, the village expects to bring in $2,217,054 in revenues, a $314,000 increase over last year. According to the anticipated revenues report, those increases come from an expected bump in monies collected by the village’s harbor master for dockage, by the building department for safety inspection fees, fines collected by the Village of Sag Harbor as well as increases in state aid.
Based on assessed values of homes in Sag Harbor Village, the general fund budget will result in a tax increase of one-percent. For a home in the village with an estimated value of $795,000, this would result in a tax bill of $2,175.80, a $21.55 increase over 2011-2012.
The village’s sewer fund budget has remained exactly the same as last year, reported Trustee Robby Stein, who is the board’s liaison to the wastewater treatment plant. That budget is for $506,224, with just $20,588 available to offset the cost placed on users within the sewer district. However, because of a higher consumption level for the water use portion of the sewer payments, the rate charged per unit will decrease from $5.38 to $5.29 in 2012-2013, said Mayor Gilbride. That could translate into $234 in annual savings for some of the highest users in the sewer district, he said, with restaurants expected to save about $70 annually and a single family home saving about $24.
While the village has managed to keep the general fund budget below the two-percent tax cap, the budget does not include the cost of several high profile projects Mayor Gilbride has committed to over the course of his term. Those include the remediation of Havens Beach, the bulkhead at West Water Street and improvements to the Municipal Building.
While the Havens Beach project is still awaiting final approval from the Army Corp of Engineers, the village has begun the first phase of the Municipal Building project. This week, it also received bids for the bulkhead project at West Water Street, which is meant to prevent erosion on the beach from threatening the roadway.
The village had hoped the project would cost around $250,000, however, when bids were opened on Monday morning the lowest price came in around $380,000 with the highest well over $400,000, said Mayor Gilbride.
On Tuesday, Mayor Gilbride said he would meet with Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley to give the lowest bidder, Keith Grimes, a call to see if the project could be completed by the end of next month.
“If we can get this done by season, it will be one less thing on our plates,” said Mayor Gilbride.
The cost of this capital project will be funded through the village’s reserve account, he added.
Also missing from the 2012-2013 tentative budget is any increase in salaries for the Sag Harbor Village Police Department, which has been working without a contract for over a year. The contract dispute is currently in mediation and according to Mayor Gilbride both parties are scheduled to come back to the table with the mediator in June.
A public hearing on the tentative budget will be held on Friday, March 30 at 5 p.m.