As of March 15, after a meeting between Village of Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri and deputy treasurer Anne Marie Monte, all unnecessary spending was put to an emergency halt to make way for the …
As of March 15, after a meeting between Village of Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri and deputy treasurer Anne Marie Monte, all unnecessary spending was put to an emergency halt to make way for the potential, but inevitable, impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuts were immediately made to all part-time workers, new equipment purchases and major road work. Only emergency spending, Monte said, was permitted, equating to an over $900,000 savings for the previous 2019-‘20 budget, which ended on May 31. However, the budget shortfall came in at about $700,000 due to lack of revenue from meters, court fines and building permits, with the village still managing a $180,000 surplus.
“One of the things we were hearing so much about is the federal, state and county governments looking to cover their costs,” said Pontieri, explaining that it will most likely come out of taxpayer pockets somehow. “Then we look at what we were able to do, and I think that we have done pretty well considering the situation.”
As for current savings, with the closed pool and recreational programs, Monte said that the expenditures and revenue loss will essentially be a wash. However, the sad part of the loss in programs, Pontieri added, is the loss in about 40 part-time jobs.
“It’s a shame that the kids going back to college that depend upon this money are the ones getting hurt,” he said. “This is basically a blue-collar community and we always hire village first.”
The surplus moving forward is now at about $4 million for the current 2020-‘21 budget, which began on May 31.
“We will be able to tap that if we need,” Pontieri said of the uncertainty of the future.
The goal, Pontieri added, was to make sure the board didn’t have to modify the already created budget to maintain the 1.71 percent tax increase with an average increase per homeowner at about $33.74 per year, or $2.81 per month. Savings, Monte said, will continue in the new fiscal year with continued emergency-spending-only protocol.
“We protected taxpayers in tough times like Hurricane Sandy, and now the big one, the coronavirus,” Pontieri continued. “We have the reserves to protect the residents and get more done.”