Hempstead Town has approved a budget of $ 453.5 million that does not raise taxes, but the COVID-19 pandemic requires nearly $ 20 million to fill the deficit.
The town will be in the red of $ 19 million in 2021 after authorities say the estimated cost this year is $ 465 million, which is $ 28 million more than the $ 437 million budget approved in 2020. Faced.
Town supervisor Don Klabin said the budget maintains town services, but he urged the department head to cut projected spending by $ 11.4 million next year.
The budget is expected to generate $ 433 million next year, including $ 253 million in taxes, $ 180 million in special district fees, and $ 19 million in reserves.
“The government is always obliged to set an example and take the lead, especially because families are suffering in difficult economic conditions such as the current coronavirus pandemic,” Klabin said in a statement. It was.
The budget project has generated $ 25 million in mortgage record taxes and is backed by $ 3.8 million in state. Approximately 20% of the budget includes health insurance and pension costs increased by $ 4 million.
Town officials said they chose to borrow from the reserve reserves to avoid tax increases. Last year, taxes fell 3.8%. The town is expected to have more than $ 100 million in reserves from next year onwards.
“This isn’t a good environment to raise taxes. We’re doing more with less effort. We have no choice. We wanted to do it last.” It was a tax increase. ” “It’s a balanced budget and we took advantage of the accumulated funds from the rainy day funds. This is certainly a rainy day.”
The Hempstead City Hall was closed during the pandemic and most employees were working from home. Four members of the Klabin administration were attacked by the coronavirus, and his adviser, David Gates, died during a pandemic.
Mastro Marino, who was hired as a consultant by a majority of the town’s board of directors before being appointed as a comptroller, said the budget was too low.
According to him, the town is short of $ 21 million in revenue forecasts for 2020, including a mortgage record tax of $ 10 million, sales tax of $ 5 million, and a park fee of $ 4 million.
“This year we shut down. Four cases of the virus and one death shut us down,” said Mastromarino. “The first quarter of the excise tax went well towards a 7% increase, but then a pandemic broke out and the rug was pulled from under us.”
The new budget has reduced 37 vacant seats and the total number of employees in the town is less than 1,800. The budget also eliminates the $ 1 million spending from the supervisor’s office after some positions have been reduced and transferred before Klabin took office.
The town isn’t spending $ 133 million on federal CARES law funding to manage its deficit, but is spending some of it on virus-related costs such as office and bathroom renovations.
There’s about $ 100 million left in the town, but the US Treasury says it can’t use that money in exchange for lost income.
Hempstead Town 2021 Budget
$ 253 million taxable without tax increase
Borrow a reserve of about $ 20 million
Forecast cost of $ 453.5 million