Village begins budget planning
At a Bellport Village budget work session last week, village officials discussed projected costs and rates for the upcoming fiscal year.
In February, Mayor Ray Fell asked trustees to begin thinking about the budget and whether or not to pierce the tax cap, a current increase of less than 1 percent. He explained that voting to pierce the cap does not always mean that they will, but is a good safety net if they have to.
The tax cap is currently set at .8 percent, the mayor said. “We aren’t sure whether or not we’ll be able to stay under that 1 percent for the village budget,” he said at a February board meeting, adding that they would have a better idea midway through March.
The two budget work sessions held this month so far have given the board a better understanding of what this year’s budget will look like. According to Fell, their preliminary drafts show the budget to be approximately $85,000 higher than last year, which would mean a $47 tax increase for the average village home. “We’re not finished yet,” Fell said, adding that they would continue to look at it. That would mean a 2.1 percent increase that would pierce the tax cap. “We’ll see if we can get it lower, but I don’t think we can get it under 1 percent,” the mayor said. “But maybe we can shave something off.” The board has not voted to pierce the tax cap yet and plans to set a public hearing at this month’s board meeting. “By then, we will know exactly where we are,” he said.
The board also discussed changing rates for village amenities and programs. Currently, proposed increases include adding $25 across the board to Kids Camp that would raise resident rates from $250 to $275 and nonresident rates from $300 to $325. Camp Explore rates are also expected to increase by $10. Fell said that tennis camp and facility rates were not changed, along with dock fees both on the bay side and at Ho Hum Beach. Ferry rates for the most part will not change, except for the weekday round-trip coupon book and season-pass rates.
The board will vote on the proposed increases and set a public hearing for piercing the tax cap at the March 27 board meeting.
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