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November 18, 2016 Contact: Supervisor’s office Connie Conway, (631) 283-6055
The Southampton Town Board approved the 2017, $94.7 million budget that reduces the property tax rate by 1.6%, the largest tax rate reduction in more than a decade. The budget focuses on public safety and quality of life issues, improving affordable housing opportunities as well as improving town infrastructure including roads and park facilities. The Supervisor called the budget, “structurally balanced and responsible as well as responsive to community needs”. “We are the only Town on Long Island that has actually been able to reduce taxes this year”, added Town Comptroller Leonard Marchese.
The budget adds one police officer and one public safety dispatcher paid from additional sales tax revenue secured from the County during Mr. Schneiderman’s tenure as Suffolk County Legislator for the region. The budget also creates a Director of Public Safety and the Director of Housing and Community Development.
The budget directs the consolidation of Code Enforcement, Animal Control, the Fire Marshall and Emergency Preparedness into a newly created Department of Public Safety. In addition, the budget creates an Office of Housing and Community Development as a division of the Department of Land Management to address the critical need for affordable housing opportunities in our community.
The Supervisor said that both changes were needed to address quality of life concerns. The new Department of Public Safety will be better able to focus all public safety resources on addressing housing code violations and other quality of life concerns while the new Housing Office will focus on creating code compliant affordable housing opportunities for our workforce. “We believe by stepping up our affordable housing program we can help people live closer to where they work”, said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
Additionally, the Town’s 2017 Budget provides $3.2 million in capital borrowing for road improvements and $1.4 million for park facility upgrades. The budget also allocates $1.3 million for major technology upgrades in town-wide computer networks. Although the budget calls for this additional borrowing, the overall level of outstanding town debt is actually being reduced by over $7 million. The budget maintains surpluses in every account, with a cumulative increase in surplus funds of over one million dollars above current levels. “I want to thank Comptroller Marchese and his staff for their fiscal management and watching the bottom line”, said Supervisor Schneiderman.
The budget was first proposed on September 20th and the public was permitted to comment on the budget at two public hearings on October 25th and November 9th. The full budget document can be viewed online at www.southamptontownny.gov .