Baxter Estate aproves budget, rental unit permits, swears in officials and staff

Baxter Estate aproves budget, rental unit permits, swears in officials and staff
Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton swearing in Mayor Nora Haagenson. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

Baxter Estates board of trustees unanimously approved their 2023-2024 budget and a local law to regulate rental units through permits and swore in village officials and staff Tuesday night.

The village’s approved budget of $905,100 is a slight decrease from the current budget which is set at $905,249.

The budget also includes a tax levy of $677,284 and is within the 2% tax cap, according to village Clerk Meghan Kelly.

Mayor Nora Haagenson said the village cut spending to stay within the tax cap. Kelly added that the village also lowered appropriations from the previous year to assist in keeping taxes within the cap.

The village board also unanimously approved a local law to regulate the rental of residential units within the village through issuing permits and annual inspections

The intent of the law is to mitigate the dangers posed by rental dwelling units that do not meet minimum fire safety and construction standards within the village, officials said. 

Village attorney Christopher Prior said there have been issues in the past with rental properties in disrepair, and the village’s newly enacted rental registration will allow them to regulate such properties.

To do so, the village’s new law will implement a registration and inspection process for rental dwelling units on a periodic basis. The language in the proposed law says this “will promote the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of said dwelling units and the good order of the village in general.”

The law requires any property owner who is renting out any residential space to obtain a permit from the village beforehand. It prohibits property owners from listing, soliciting, advertising or offering, exhibiting or showing a rental unit within the village before obtaining a permit.

Residential property owners will be able to apply for permits by completing forms provided by the village and submitting them to the superintendent of buildings. Applications must be submitted by the owner of the premises or an agent designated by the owner.

The property owner will be required to provide certification from a licensed architect, a licensed professional engineer or the superintendent of buildings vouching that the unit is in compliance with all the provisions.

Permits would be granted once the superintendent of buildings determines that the rental unit is in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the Baxter Estate code.

​​Permits would be valid for two years from the date they are issued, except upon transfer of record ownership of the premises.

A permit application fee schedule has not been established yet.

The law also allows for the superintendent of buildings to authorize or conduct inspections to determine the conditions of the rental unit for the purpose of safeguarding the “health, safety, morals and welfare of the public,” as stated in the law.

Rental property owners will be required to annually submit a written report detailing the operating conditions of unit devices and utilities within the rental unit, such as electrical heating equipment and sprinkler systems. These reports would need to be submitted between June 1 and July 1 every year.

Penalties for violating this law would include a fine of $500-$1,000, a maximum of 15 days in jail or both for first offenses. Subsequent offenses would result in higher fines, potentially reaching upwards of $5,000.

The board also proposed a local law at the meeting to amend the village’s code that would require rental units to be rented for no less than 6 months. Haagenson said this is to prevent transients within the village and protect the village and its residents.

No action was taken on the law establishing a rental period minimum, but it will be discussed further during a public hearing at the village’s next board of trustees meeting in May.

Baxter Estate board of trustees with Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton at the board’s meeting Tuesday night. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the village’s mayor and its two trustees that were re-elected were sworn in by Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton.

Haagenson, Trustee Maria Branco and Trustee Charles Comer all ran for re-election unopposed in the March 21 election, winning their seats for another term.

The village also approved the appointments of various village staff members. Those in attendance at the meeting were also sworn in by DeRiggi-Whitton.

The village board will convene again at 7:30 p.m. on May 3 for their next board of trustees meeting.

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