Greenport Village Board adopts $2.89 million budget

04/26/2011 6:50 PM |

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce at Monday's Village Board meeting.

Mayor David Nyce got his way Monday night, securing passage of his $2.89 million budget with a 2.5 percent tax hike — but not without a fight.

The Village Board voted 3 to 2 to approve the tax increase, with trustees Mary Bess Phillips and Chris Kempner objecting to making that decision without another public hearing. The budget itself was approved by a 4 to 1 vote, with only Ms. Kempner voting no.

The action came after village attorney Joseph Prokop told the board that failure to adopt a budget by May 2 would result in the tentative budget becoming permanent.

The fate of the budget — $2,000 less than the current operating plan — was never in question. But the late addition of the suggested tax hike to pay down debt, coming only after two previous budget hearings had been held, struck a sour note with Village Board members as well as residents.

The increase will cost the average household an additional $12 in taxes.

“I really want to hear from the public,” Ms. Phillips said, arguing that another hearing should be held.

“You’re making a farce out of the budget process,” former trustee Bill Swiskey charged, also asking for another hearing.

At both of the board’s recent budget hearings, the mayor said he would keep the tax rate flat at $18.13 per $100 of assessed valuation, John Saladino said. He also objected to a hike without giving the public an opportunity to weigh in on it.

Mr. Nyce described his making no mention of a tax hike as “an unfortunate oversight on my part.” The mayor insisted he had always intended to introduce the tax hike proposal at the April 18 budget hearing. He defended the increase, saying that from the moment he was elected in 2007 he has fought to raise taxes to deal with the village’s substantial debt, stemming largely from the development of Mitchell Park.

Payments made to date have reduced that debt to between $3 million and $4 million, the mayor said. The budget included debt service payments for next year, but unless additional action is taken the village will fall short by $190,000 in the 2012-13 fiscal year, he said. The payments jump from about $600,000 to $700,000 a year in 2014, he said.

Village taxes rose 18 percent for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

Additional tax money raised during the last four years has been used to lower the debt, Mr. Nyce said in response to a question from Mr. Swiskey about where the funds are.

Mr. Nyce, who announced Monday that he will not seek a third term in 2015, said it would be easy to ignore the problem and “kick the can down the road” to the next administration. But with a looming shortfall, he added, the Village Board would still have to find some way of closing the gap.

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  • Mr. Nyce described his making no mention of a tax hike as “an unfortunate oversight on my part.”

    A reasonable person would think if a mayor or village board was going to progress a tax increase in a proposed budget, one of the largest pieces of legislation they will address this year, it just might be the first thing they would mention at the two budget meetings they officiated at. Instead they told the public, by word and in print, the tax rate would be kept flat. Perhaps if the public knew there would be a tax hike, more than the two people mentioned by the mayor as being the “only people to show up for the public hearings” alluding that the general public has no interest in the budget process and is OK with a tax hike and would not take time to attend an additional meeting. Not allowing the public to speak to this because “it is too much trouble”, or you feel “no one will come any way” or the house lawyer’s biased opinion that “it had to be done tonight” is just plain wrong and shows a total disrespect for the taxpayers of this village. I applaud the two trustees who out of respect for the residents and the public hearing process voted no. The trustees who tried to justify their yes votes by suggesting they had to vote for this or our tax rate would go up eighty percent are fear mongers and just preying on the fears of the people to progress their own free spending agendas or with the mayor his legacy. This was a classic example of bait and switch, if this was PC Richard or Home Depot they would be in front of Consumer Affairs.

  • Mr. Nyce described his making no mention of a tax hike as “an unfortunate oversight on my part.”

    A reasonable person would think if a mayor or village board was going to progress a tax increase in a proposed budget, one of the largest pieces of legislation they will address this year, it just might be the first thing they would mention at the two budget meetings they officiated at. Instead they told the public, by word and in print, the tax rate would be kept flat. Perhaps if the public knew there would be a tax hike, more than the two people mentioned by the mayor as being the “only people to show up for the public hearings” alluding that the general public has no interest in the budget process and is OK with a tax hike and would not take time to attend an additional meeting. Not allowing the public to speak to this because “it is too much trouble”, or you feel “no one will come any way” or the house lawyer’s biased opinion that “it had to be done tonight” is just plain wrong and shows a total disrespect for the taxpayers of this village. I applaud the two trustees who out of respect for the residents and the public hearing process voted no. The trustees who tried to justify their yes votes by suggesting they had to vote for this or our tax rate would go up eighty percent are fear mongers and just preying on the fears of the people to progress their own free spending agendas or with the mayor his legacy. This was a classic example of bait and switch, if this was PC Richard or Home Depot they would be in front of Consumer Affairs.

  • Hey look the mayor wants to limit debate and ram through an unexpected tax hike. This seems to be a trend in government– work out the details behind close doors in order to get a quick approval by the powers that be. Avoid of the “hassle” of the Suffolk Times writing an article about it- get it done while no one is looking.

  • he raises our taxes while allowing wingate and abaelli to forgive hundreds of thousands in revinue for out of town landlords like t he gordons owners of the kaplan ave marketmotelantique shopmusic studioetc. etc. this is a conservitive estamate that does not include thier pay and both have yet again failed to keep thier state cert. up to date