Taxes would increase 1.93 percent if preliminary budget is adopted

BETH YOUNG PHOTO Supervisor Scott Russell and Councilman Vincent Orlando at Monday's budget work session.

Taxes will increase by 1.93 percent in Southold Town if the preliminary budget, which was adopted Monday, becomes the town’s official 2011 spending plan.
The $38.6 million budget carries a $1.8 million spending increase over last year. Town officials say that increase is due primarily to contractual increases in salaries for workers who are members of the Civil Service Employee Association and $900,000 in extra payments into New York State’s pension plan for town workers.
The board will hold two public hearings on the budget on Nov. 4 at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The final budget must be adopted by mid-November.
Mr. Russell’s tentative budget, released Sept. 31, called for a $1.7 million spending increase, but the town later learned that one worker, whom they thought was retiring, will continue to work with the town and several town workers will request payouts from their accrued sick and vacation time, bumping the budget up by about $100,000.
“He’s left nothing on the bone for us to take,” said Councilman Vincent Orlando of the board’s inability to cut further into the supervisor’s tentative budget. “I give the supervisor a lot of credit.”
The town has been working at cutting spending all this year and is anticipated to have $6.4 million in reserve funds going into 2011. The supervisor’s budget called for using $2.1 million of that surplus to offset a tax increase.
Town supervisor, town board, and other elected officials’ salaries are slated to increase by 4 percent in the 2011 budget. Mr. Russell said Tuesday that prior boards had established a policy of increasing elected officials’ salaries by the same amount as the CSEA employees’ salaries. CSEA workers in town agreed to forego salary increases last year, and so did elected officials, said the supervisor.
The supervisor’s salary is slated to increase to $90,472 next year. Town Board members will earn $31,270 per year and Town Justice and Fisher’s Island board representative Louisa Evans will earn $49,048.
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