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Friday, May 27, 2016
Taxes remain flat in Lawrence
Trustees question not increasing taxes
By Jeffrey Bessen
Herald file photo
Mayor Martin Oliner recommended a 2 percent tax cut in the preliminary budget.

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.


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This article entirely misrepresents my position as stated publicly at the April 11 Board of Trustees meeting and budget hearing.

What I stated was that the village for many years raised taxes by 3% by rote. This created a very significant fund balance of more than $12 million which is money that rightfully should be in the pockets of the taxpayers of the village. I suggested that the village LOWER taxes this year and return most of the excess funds to the residents and that we enact a truer budget going forward.

When a government has a huge cushion that does not necessitate balancing the books it can lead to overspending as we have seen over the past couple years at the country club.

At no time did I suggest that we raise taxes this year.

Michael Fragin

Friday, April 19, 2013 | Report this

It is worthwhile to point out that when I inquired of the village administration as to how they arrived at the proposed 2% tax decrease in the budget I was told that the number was entirely arbitrary.

Arbitrary decisions are not a positive attribute for government .

Friday, April 19, 2013 | Report this
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