Mitchell Park debt repayment might not fit under 2 percent cap

By now, taxpayers are accustomed to hearing reports about how the 2 percent cap on tax increases imposed by the state won’t necessarily keep their tax bills from rising beyond that level. Another reminder of that emerged Monday night at the Greenport Village Board meeting when Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said she’d spoken Sunday with one of the governor’s representatives, who said village debt payments for Mitchell Park might not have to be included in the 2 percent cap.

That’s both good and bad news. It could ease some of the pressure to meet the debt payments, which are about $600,000 a year now and are expected to reach about $750,000 a year by 2014. On the other hand, it would enable Village Board members to ask for more than a straight 2 percent tax increase when they submit their budget next spring. Mayor David Nyce estimated that about $3.5 million of the debt the village incurred from developing Mitchell Park remains.

Without last year’s 2.5 percent tax hike and some hike in the 2012-13 budget, Mr. Nyce warned in April that by next spring the village would fall behind in its ability to meet the debt payments by about $190,000.

There may also be some refunds due the village that could offset a bit of the debt payment, village treasurer Charlene Kagel said Monday night. How much that might be she doesn’t yet know, but she said it could be as much as $40,000.

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