New Hyde Park budget continues tax cap streak

New Hyde Park budget continues tax cap streak
Lawrence Montreuil, the Village of New Hyde Park mayor, is seen at a meeting on April 4, 2017. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Village of New Hyde Park trustees approved a $6.2 million budget Tuesday night that stays within the state cap on tax increases for the sixth straight year.

The $4.3 million tax levy in the 2017-18 budget reflects an increase of 1.57 percent, slightly below the 1.59 percent hike allowed under the tax cap law this year, village Clerk-Treasurer Kate Hillman said.

The village property tax rate, though, will rise 2.1 percent to $21.89 per $100 of assessed value, following a drop in the village’s total assessed property value for the third straight year due to property tax appeals.

Combined with an allowed spending increase of about $70,000, that made staying within the tax cap a challenge, Donna Squicciarino, the village deputy mayor, said.

“It’s a double whammy,” she said.

Expenses for employee health benefits are set to fall about $1,900 this year, with village workers now contributing more to their health plans, Hillman said.

But total employee benefit costs are set to rise about $30,000, with pension, Social Security and workers compensation expenses expected to increase.

The village will pay almost $385,000 in debt service this year after borrowing $1.2 million for a large road repair project last year, said Mayor Lawrence Montreuil, who was sworn in to the village’s top office on Monday.

Property tax challenges pose a challenge because they require the village to pay out refunds in addition to reducing the total property value, Montreuil said.

Nassau County pays tax refunds for all municipalities except incorporated villages, which have independent assessment rolls, Montreuil and Squicciarino said.

The Board of Trustees approved five tax refunds Tuesday night worth a total of $17,781.69.

The board also voted Tuesday to hire Phillips Preiss Grygiel, a New Jersey urban planning firm, to review designs for certain features of the Long Island Rail Road’s proposed third track project.

For a fee of up to $6,000, the firm will advise the village on the aesthetics of proposed sound barriers and other pieces, and how they would impact the village’s character, Montreuil said.

“Now that we see what the MTA is putting in front of us, and we say this is really deficient, it motivated us to reach back out to these guys and get some help,” Montreuil said.

The Village of Mineola hired Phillips Preiss Grygiel to review project documents last year. New Hyde Park first received a consulting proposal from the firm in January, Montreuil said.

New Hyde Park officials have opposed the $2 billion plan to add a third track to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville, citing concerns about traffic and quality of life.

Project officials say the work would improve traffic flow and reduce noise along the corridor once it’s finished. They have incorporated feedback from local officials and community leaders into the plans, which have yet to be finalized, a project spokesman has said.

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