The Greenport Village Board has adopted next year’s $2.9 million general fund budget, which carries a 2.14 percent increase to the tax levy.
Prior to Monday night’s unanimous vote, a group of residents addressed the Village Board and questioned the practice of offering health care benefits to part-time trustees, which has been a long-standing source of contention in Greenport.
Former trustee Bill Swiskey said he believes Village Board members should relinquished their health benefits instead of raising taxes. He estimates the move would save the village $25,000.
“Don’t you think it’s enough already?” Mr. Swiskey asked. “End that practice now.”
Mayor David Nyce said he doesn’t plan to change legislation that permits trustees to enroll in the village’s healthcare system.
“The health benefits have been offered to trustees and mayors since the early 90s,” Mr. Nyce said. “I have not moved to change that. It is my feeling that each board member should make that decision for themselves.”
As for next year’s tax hike, treasurer Robert Brandt has said residents will see an increase in property taxes of 1.54 percent as a result of a higher assessed valuation. The current tax rate is $19.42 per $100 of assessed valuation. That amount has increased to $19.72 for 2014-15, according to the adopted budget.
The 2.14 tax levy increase, which represents the total amount raised through property taxes, includes exemptions to bring the budget in compliance with the state mandated 2 percent tax cap, officials said. It also includes payments such as contributions to the state employee retirement system that are not restricted by the cap.
About $21,000 from the tax hike will be put into the village’s cash reserves next year, Mr. Nyce added.
Other expenditures include: electric fund ($4.35 million), recreation fund ($1.35 million), sewer fund ($1.34 million) and water fund ($461,500).
Mr. Brandt said savings from the recent combination of administrative positions will be used to pay for two new hires — a code enforcer and paralegal — next fiscal year.