Great Neck Plaza trustees approve $7.1 million budget

Great Neck Plaza trustees approve $7.1 million budget
Middle Neck Road. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck Plaza trustees approved a $7.1 million budget for the village on Wednesday night, which features a tax increase within the tax cap, extra funding for transportation enhancements and more money going to medical costs.

Overall this marks a $148,470 increase from the 2017 budget of $6.99 million, which is a 2.1 percent increase.

Patricia O’Byrne, the village clerk-treasurer, said the two biggest changes from the adopted budget and the originally proposed one is the inclusion of a 1.6 percent tax increase, rather than none, and recalculating the cost of a transportation enhancement project based on the advice of their engineers.

The 1.6  tax percent increase is a change from $5.10 per $100 of assessed value to $5.20 per $100 of assessed value. This translates to real property taxes going up from about $2.87 million to $2.92 million – a $47,150 increase.

The fire tax, meanwhile, remains the same at $4.09 per $100 of assessed value.

“We never propose a tax increase lightly,” Mayor Jean Celender said in a statement read by Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen at the meeting. “But we feel a nominal increase within the state tax cap is warranted to ensure we have done everything to keep expenses down and not ignore our continuing to fund needed infrastructure repairs.”

The budget factors in $1,094,700 – 80 percent of it coming from a federal grant secured in 2014 – needed for a Transportation Enhancement Program, which seeks to add pedestrian and bicyclist enhancements for Shoreward Drive and Welwyn Road.

Village officials expect that project to be completed this year.

The budget also allocates approximately $338,000 towards the village’s multi-year road fixing project, which aims to put all the villages roads into a state of good repair.

In her statement, Celender also noted the village’s intent to finish an energy efficiency lighting project in village hall and pursue fixture rebates from PSEG for future street light replacements.

The village expects to receive $3.01 million dollars from property taxes, $350,000 from building permit fees, $1.08 million from parking permits and meters, $700,000 from fines and forfeited bail and $1.3 million from grants and state aid. The rest of the money comes from other miscellaneous sources.

The budget also notes the receipt of a $150,000 community development grant, a $43,600 increase in highway aid from $94,000 to $137,600, and $726,160 coming from the TEP grant.

Overall, employee benefit costs will also rise by $100,795 from $1,127,844 to $1,228,639, or 8.9 percent. The bulk of that increase comes from boosting hospital and medical insurance spending by $91,000 from $709,000 to $800,000, which is a 12.8 percent increase.

Other employee benefit costs include $197,000 for state retirement, $102,639 for social security, $60,000 for workers compensation, $36,000 for disability insurance and $33,000 for dental and vision insurance.

Maintenance costs for roads are also going down $88,500 from $435,500 to $347,000, according to the budget, while parking lot and garage costs are also expected to decrease by more than $30,000 altogether.

Parking enforcement costs, meanwhile, will go down $10,126 from $257,024 to $246,898.

The cost of “special items,” which include unallocated insurance worth $210,000 and $100,000 for property tax refunds, are budgeted to increase $800 to $361,500.

Fire protection costs went up by $13,000 from $939,000 to $952,000, mostly due to the fire contract with Vigilant Fire Company going up $11,000 from $919,000 to $930,000.

In related business, village officials also signed onto refuge and roll-off contracts with Jamaica Ash, which are expected to be worth $360,000 and $18,000 in the budget. The budget projects this will lead to a $30,000 decrease in refuse and garbage costs to the village.

In unrelated business, trustees said they will continue hearings on local laws to amend zoning rules in two districts to incentivize affordable housing units and a proposal for a residential dwelling to be located at 15 Bond Street on Feb. 7.

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