The Lynbrook village board voted 4-1 on May 11 to approve a $43.1 million budget for 2020-21, which will include a 2.25 percent tax increase for residents.
According to Mayor Alan Beach, village officials had hoped to replicate last year by not raising taxes, but after losing money amid the coronavirus pandemic, the increase was necessary. To make up for lost revenues, village officials originally eyed a 9.4 percent tax hike, but were able to dip into reserve funds and use $2.9 million to stay within Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax cap.
“We have reserve money that we utilized to bring down the tax rate,” Beach said. “We would have been at zeroes again if we didn’t have the Covid crisis. It’s been a difficult time for everybody.”
Beach said the board worked closely with Village Clerk John Giordano to limit tax increases and generate a concise budget under unprecedented circumstances. Village officials originally worked toward a $44.5 million budget, but trimmed it to $43.1 million by slashing some expenses. Village officials have also applied for federal funds and loans, and have continued to work with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Town of Hempstead officials on researching ways to make up for lost revenue, Beach said.
In order to trim its budget, the board cut back on capital improvement expenses, and Beach noted that many seasonal summer employees won’t have to be hired because the coronavirus has canceled several jobs, such as the summer staff at the Village Pool.
Beach added that the usual services, such as the Lynbrook Police Department and the Department of Public Works, will still be maintained, and when the coronavirus pandemic eventually subsides, the Recreation Department will host its traditional programs, while the library will also continue to be open on Sundays.
Beach said it has been a trying time, but village officials came up with the best budget that they could, while taking into consideration some of the difficulties that residents are facing.
“Some people have lost their jobs and are going to have a hard time paying their bills,” Beach said. “We have reserves for a reason, and this is when you’re supposed to use the reserves.”