The Village of Patchogue Board released its tentative 2022 budget with a 2.05 percent total increase. A surplus, according to mayor Paul Pontieri, of $500,0000 was used to help offset the costs of the $13.7 million overall budget while also maintaining a healthy $3.2 million surplus with an AA rating from Standard & Poor’s.
“There were certainly many different concerns due to the pandemic, but I feel that we were able to come up with a reasonable budget which will serve our residents well,” said Joanne Ruggiero, the village senior account clerk. “The $500,000 from surplus is being used to keep the tax increase at a minimum.”
The surplus, Pontieri added, has also enabled the Village of Patchogue to obtain $60 million in grants over the years, most of which have required matching. Also, though the board voted to pierce the tax cap, it doesn’t mean it will or plans to, but rather puts the board in a position where it can if something should go wrong.
“All things considered, with the fact that if you look at the shortfalls in revenue of over a million dollars, we were still able to keep the tax rate at 2 percent,” Pontieri said, noting revenue losses from the closed Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, lack in meter funding and fines, as well as a significant decrease in assessed valuation from businesses with waived taxes.
As for increases, health insurance went up 12 percent, liability insurance 7 percent and retirement 12 percent. Due to COVID expenses, the ambulance contract also increased by a significant 30 percent, while debt service-reduction of 26 percent in bond payments were due. Workers’ comp insurance decreased by 5 percent, attributed to curbside garbage pickup implementation, salary expenses went down 1 percent even with a 2 percent wage increase, and savings were made by absorbing the Architectural Review Board into the Planning Board.
The mayor and the trustees maintained their salaries the same as in the past three budgets, $38,400 and $15,000 per trustee, respectively, totaling $90,000 for all six trustees. The highway department reflects a 2 percent increase due to union raises.
“I am very proud of it [the budget]. That and the Johnson Controls project,” he said. “It’s a real honor to be a part of this team.”
The average increase per homeowner is about $44.55 per year, or $3.71 per month compared to last year’s increase of $33.74 per year, or $2.81 per month. A public hearing is set for April 8 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. At that time, the budget will be voted on.