Village mayor presents $9.36 million spending outline

04/05/2013 5:00 PM |
JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce.

JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce.

Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce’s $9.36 million preliminary spending plan would carry a 2.02 percent increase in the tax levy.

Mr. Nyce projects village spending to decrease as the result of a $200,000 saving from restructuring the Mitchell Park debt last year and other cuts in discretionary accounts. He expects village revenue to hold steady in the next fiscal year.

While a fraction over 2 percent, the projected tax increase doesn’t pierce the state-mandated cap because certain expenses, such as pensions and capital costs, are exempt.

“We are at a point now where we can see the light,” Mr. Nyce said. “The funds are getting healthier.”

For the first time in two years, Mr. Nyce has presented a tentative budget that includes a tax hike. His critics say the mayor was passing the buck, leaving it to the full the Village Board to adopt spending plans including tax hikes.

Last year, village taxes rose 1.82 percent.

Spending included an $18,000 allocation for a Mitchell Park debt reserve, according to Village treasurer Charlene Kagel. The reserve was created last summer to pay down the debt. The Village Board then agreed to raise the tax levy by the maximum percentage allowed by the state to pay off existing village debts. This year’s budgeted allocation is $30,000.

“Some of the projects I’d like to see get done but we can’t,” Mr. Nyce said. “We’ve had to tighten our belts.”

Mr. Nyce said the village will be in a position to “borrow responsibly” within the next couple of years. He hopes to allocate funds for capital projects, such as road reconstruction.

It’s unclear how, or if, ongoing negotiations between the village and its Civil Service Employees Association will affect the budget. It’s been nearly three years since the previous CSEA contract expired.

“We have no idea what it will mean for the budget because we don’t have a contract,” Mr. Nyce said. “There is not a lot of information available right now.”

The village is unique among East End municipalities because it operates its own electric and wastewater treatment plants. It requires the services of CSEA union members to maintain the generator at the heart of the electric facility along with its mechanical and electrical equipment. Union members also monitor the villages wastewater treatment plant.

The mayor said the administration is “very close” to reaching an agreement for at least the first year of the contract. He he hopes the board will settle on one year before going back to the bargaining table on a three-year deal.

“I didn’t think it would take this long,” Mr. Nyce said of the negotiations. “I’m hopeful we’ll have a deal soon.”

A public hearing on budget is scheduled for next Monday, April 8. The board is scheduled to adopt a spending plan at its April 22 meeting. The deadline to submit the budget to the state is May 1.

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