The Village of Lawrence’s tax rate will remain the same for the third consecutive year despite thinking from two trustees that an increase is warranted due to the loss of assessment revenue and a decreasing fund balance.
Lawrence’s board unanimously approved the budget for 2013-14 following more than 30 minutes of deliberation at the village meeting on April 11. The budget for the new fiscal year that begins on June 1 is $6.337 million. The tax rate per $100 of assessed value will remain at $71.60.
In the preliminary budget, Mayor Martin Oliner recommended a 2 percent tax cut. Last year and in 2011 he also sought tax reductions. But Oliner previously said he didn’t think the tentative tax cut was “doable” because of the $540,632 lost after the Nassau County Assessment Review Board reduced the valuations of 1,037 properties in the
The 12.04 percent loss of income, along with increased costs such as higher pension payments for village employees compelled Lawrence to apply $2.001 million from its fund balance. With a fund balance down to $4 million (it was at one point more than $12 million), Trustee Joel Mael thought it could be time for the village to increase taxes.
“I don’t think it is a prudent time to do it,” he said, referring to a the tax cut, adding that it might be “time to vote for a tax increase” to replenish the fund balance.
Trustee Michael Fragin questioned why the village isn’t raising taxes the “customary 3 percent that got us to that fund balance amount” in the past. “It’s not realistic what we have been doing the last few years,” he said, referring to applying fund balance money to the budget to make up for lost revenue.