October 9, 2013 | 1855 views
Town of Hempstead unveils proposed 2014 budget
On Sept. 30, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray announced the preliminary 2014 budget, which, if adopted, would reduce the tax levy for residents by $1.2 million while increasing the total budget by $12.5 million.
Murray touted the spending plan as the third-consecutive budget in which she has cut town taxes, reducing the tax levy from $262.2 million ion 2013 to $261 million next year.
“Homeowners are confronting extensive financial and personal hardship, rebuilding their homes and their lives in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” Murray said in a release. “Still other residents are coping with the effects of a prolonged national economic downturn. In times like these, local governments have an obligation to extend a helping hand to ease the burden borne by local taxpayers.”
The total 2014 budget, which would go into effect on Jan. 1, is $431.9 million, an increase of $12.5 million over the current year’s spending plan. According to the town, that comes out to nine cents for every property tax dollar that residents pay, and less than one cent if you live in an incorporated village.
One of the cost-saving measures that Murray touted was a decrease in the town’s debt service, which is the money the town repays for money it had bonded. According to the town, its debt service has gone from $55.2 million in 2010 to a projected $47.5 in 2014. Debt service has been in a steady decline for the last five years.
Murray also said that the town will be decreasing its workforce by 2.5 percent, going from 2,072 workers to 2,008. The “workforce efficiency,” as it is called in the budget, is expected to save $4.95 million. The positions will be reduced by eliminating currently vacant positions.
During 2013, the town has implemented new fueling stations that utilize a fuel management system which provides preventative maintenance data, allowing trucks in the town’s fleet to be repaired when working inefficiently and helping with route planning. According to Murray, this is expected to save the town almost $1 million by the end of 2014.
Discretionary spending in the proposed spending plan is increasing 1.7 percent to $326.5 million, while non-discretionary spending (which includes things like state-mandated pensions and health insurance) is increasing 7.3 percent and makes up $105.4 million of the budget — nearly a quarter of the spending plan.
“Our hard-working families have always been there to help those in need,” Murray said in her release. “Now it’s time for government to take responsibility and extend a helping hand to residents who are struggling in the wake of Sandy and those coping with a depressed national economy.”