The town’s 2016 budget was unanimously approved by the town board and North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, with a bipartisan vote of 7 to 0. The $102 million budget (General Fund and Town Outside Village Fund) is a balanced and fiscally conservative plan that stays under the .73% New York State tax cap, qualifying most taxpayers for a tax rebate. The Town’s Solid Waste Management Authority’s $17.8 million budget also passed unanimously.
The budget includes additional funding for snow removal and increased tree plantings and trimming, and additional staff for the Building Department, as the town continues to improve customer service. For the second consecutive year, the budget was unanimously approved with a bipartisan vote and fulfilled Bosworth’s promise, made when she was elected in 2013, to vote on the budget prior to Election Day.
“Putting together a prudent fiscal plan for the town is a challenge under the state tax cap, but I believe that we have succeeded in passing a budget that reflects the best interests of North Hempstead’s taxpayers,” said Bosworth. “We have a deep obligation to our residents to provide the services they expect and deserve, while also being fiscally responsible. This 2016 budget fulfills those responsibilities.”
The town’s 2016 budget includes a $66.9 million General Fund, a $35.05 million Town Outside Village (TOV) Fund and $23.66 million for the 20 town-operated special districts. For residents living in incorporated villages, the General Fund Budget represents a $3.78 annual increase for the average household. For residents living in the unincorporated areas of the town, who also pay the TOV tax, the increase represents an additional $10.83 per year for the average household.
The town continues to reduce its reliance on the state’s pension loan program.
During this budget season, the Bosworth asked all department heads and commissioners to tighten their belts and to find savings wherever they could, without compromising services. Under this budget, the Parks and Recreation Department will continue to provide exceptional concerts, multicultural events and myriad recreational opportunities. In addition to the snow removal and tree trimming, the Town’s Highway Department will provide street sweeping and sidewalk repair at current levels, with no cuts to these important quality-of-life services and sustained attention to safety. Cultural and social event programming provided by the Department of Community Services will continue to make life more enjoyable for residents. Services provided to senior citizens through the Department of Services for the Aging (DOSA) and its Project Independence Program will continue to be a national role model by providing numerous services and programs for the town’s seniors, including transportation services for grocery shopping and doctor appointments.
The budget also reflects the Bosworth’s commitment to pursue environmental initiatives and to secure funding for infrastructure needs. The administration has developed a five-year capital plan that seeks to preserve the town’s resources, both natural, like the town’s waterways and wetlands, and man-made, such as roads and park structures.
Last month the town received an Aa1 rating from the independent Wall Street bond rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., which reaffirmed the town’s strong fiscal outlook for 2016. These positive ratings, based on the town’s conservative fiscal management practices and reduction of debt by $22.8 million, translate into lower interest rates on town borrowing and savings for taxpayers.