$6.1M Williston Park budget sticks to tax cap

$6.1M Williston Park budget sticks to tax cap
Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar.

Village of Williston Park trustees adopted a 2017-18 budget Monday night that stays within the state’s cap on tax increases for the first time in five years.

The $6.1 million budget increases spending by about $65,000 and hikes revenue from property taxes by 1.22 percent, just within the 1.26-percent increase allowed this year under the state law.

The village Board of Trustees voted 4-0-1 to approve the budget Monday, with Trustee Teresa Thomann abstaining.

The budget is the first since 2012 to stick to the state-imposed limits. From 2013 through last year, the board voted to override the cap, saying the village’s spending needs were growing more than the state limits allowed.

Village departments succeeded in “holding the line on a number of expenditures” this year, keeping spending increases to a minimum, Ehrbar said.

“There’s a lot of construction going on” in the village, Ehrbar said, so increased revenue from building permit fees also helped keep taxes down.

The budget adds $15,000 in spending for a special labor counsel, a 17.26 percent increase to the village’s legal budget.

The labor attorney from Bond, Schoeneck & King, a Syracuse-based firm with a Garden City office, will help negotiate new contracts with the village’s public works and library employees, Ehrbar said. The most recent contracts expired in May 2016.

The lawyer will also advise the village on any other labor issues, as James Bradley, the regular village attorney, does not specialize in them, Ehrbar said.

The budget nearly doubles spending for street cleaning to $72,200, adding $35,000 for equipment leases. It also adds $10,000 for new street light fixtures as the village works to install energy-efficient LED lamps.

The village board did not publicly review on Monday its separate budgets for its $1.56 million water fund, $429,000 library fund and $391,000 pool fund, which cut spending by about $39,000, $40,000 and $3,400, respectively.

Thomann said she abstained from voting because she wanted more time to review those three budgets in detail.

Thomann particularly wants to look into possible capital projects and other future concerns for each fund “and how we’re going to approach it long term,” she said.

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