Port North proposes $4.5M budget that includes sensory playground, sidewalk work expenses

Port North proposes $4.5M budget that includes sensory playground, sidewalk work expenses
The Port Washington North Village Office. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Village of Port Washington North proposed a tentative budget of $4,504,613 for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, about a 60.62% increase from the current budget, without any plans to pierce the allowable tax cap.

“I think that this is a well-thought-out budget,” Mayor Robert Weitzner said. “I think it is a reflection of a lot of years of history and some medium and long-term planning, and I think that through history it’s as accurate as it can be.”

The Port Washington North Board of Trustees discussed the tentative budget proposal Tuesday night, but will not vote to adopt it until its next meeting on April 9.

While the budget totals $4.5 million, the village is budgeting revenues at about $3,604,613. The $900,000 difference between revenues and spending will be filled by the village’s fund balance.

Weitzner said that while the village’s use of fund balance money to supplement the budget is higher than last year, which used about $450,000, half a million of it is allotted for its sensory and disability-accessible playground.

The playground is still in the planning phase but has garnered grants pledged to the village for funding. This includes a $500,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation, which the village will match in contribution too.

Weitzner said that he did not want the $500,000 expense funded by the taxpayers, so the village will use existing fund balances to fund the grant match.

Excluding the $500,000 for the park, the use of fund balance money would be less than the amount used in the current budget.

Village Treasurer Mary Jo Bella said the village’s tax percentage increase is not available yet but will be presented at the next budget hearing. She said there are no plans to exceed the tax cap.

The village is proposing a revenue of $1,460,000 in real property taxes, which Bella said is about $30,000 more than the current fiscal year.

The village is projecting about $1.5 million in grants and another $1 million in interest earnings to help fund its budget in tandem with taxes levied.

Weitzner said there are two major expenses in the budget: funds for the sensory and disability-accessible playground and a new truck for the Department of Public Works which will cost about $69,000.

The village’s budget also reflects a shift in its infrastructure initiatives, diminishing expenses for road work to bolster tree and sidewalk work instead.

Weitzner said the village has been repaving its roads over the past few years and will have finished repaving all of them by the end of next year. Since the work will be done soon, the village is using the money used for roads to go towards fixing sidewalks and planting trees.

The village is budgeting $80,000 to finish road construction projects, with another $80,000 for tree work and $192,000 for sidewalks.

Weitzner said the village is seeking to replace trees causing “significant damage” to the sidewalks in tandem with replacing sidewalks.

“We’ve got to get a handle on this,” Weitzner said. “It’s just unsustainable to keep leaving the trees in, to keep replacing the sidewalks literally every other year. It just makes no sense.”

The Village of Port Washington North Board of Trustees will convene again for its next meeting on April 9.

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