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Oct 2, 2012 6:41 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson Files 2013 Tentative Budget

Oct 2, 2012 6:43 PM

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson is proposing a nearly $69 million spending plan for next year, up by about $3.3 million, or 5 percent, over this year’s approximately $65.7 million adopted budget. The supervisor’s proposed budget is not expected to pierce the New York State tax levy cap.

About 33 percent of the increase is attributed to expenses in the town’s Scavenger Waste and Airport funds, according to Mr. Wilkinson’s 2013 tentative budget message.

Those living outside the villages can expect to see their property tax rate increase by 4.6 percent, if Mr. Wilkinson’s budget is approved—which is subject to a vote by the Town Board. Residents within village boundaries would see a third consecutive annual tax rate decline of 1.72 percent.

The supervisor painted the budget as a continued plan for the town’s financial recovery and lamented what he called the “lack of 2012 progress.”

“We believe our plan is a model that has allowed us to budget for 2013 without having to implement any draconian staff cuts or abolishment of services like we see occurring in other towns on Long Island and in New York State,” Mr. Wilkinson stated. “We believe we were able to get where we are today by being ahead of the curve in dealing with the imminent global financial crisis and the added burden of a $27 million 2009 general fund deficit, a situation that no other municipality on Long Island had to confront.”

Some highlights of the budget include adding new staff and hours for the Town Justice 
Court, which would eliminate the need for court to be closed one day a week, and a total 
contingency of $559,000 in all major funds to address unanticipated expenses and other initiatives.

Mr. Wilkinson has only accounted for three months of expenses for the operations of the transfer station at the town’s scavenger waste plant, and for funds to pay back money borrowed by the Scavenger Waste Fund. The fund is projected to be at a $700,000 deficit by the end of the year.

The budget move is an attempt at forcing a deadline on one of the toughest decisions that has divided Town Board members. Earlier this year, a new coalition emerged when Democrats Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc teamed up with Republican Dominick Stanzione to block an effort, favored by Mr. Wilkinson and Republican Theresa 
Quigley, to pursue a proposal from a company to privatize the aging Springs-Fireplace Road facility.

Mr. Wilkinson said he predicts that his handling of the plant in the budget will be subject to future discussions by fellow board members.

“My convictions and beliefs remain the same that this is an asset to the town that can be appropriately leased or sold to an outside agency,” Mr. Wilkinson said on Tuesday.

Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc were not ready to make specific comments on the budget document this week, as they only were able to begin looking at the nearly 250-page budget on Monday. It needed to be filed with the Town Clerk’s office by September 30.

In initial comments, Mr. Van Scoyoc was critical of Mr. 
Wilkinson’s scavenger waste budget move. He said the fund wasn’t appropriately budgeted for this year in the first place, which is why town officials 
project a deficit. In the past, 
Mr. Wilkinson and Ms. Quigley have countered that the Town Board of 2011 intended to 
privatize the facility last year before Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc took office in January 2012.

Ms. Overby said the budget needs a “full board discussion.” She pointed out that she’s the Town Board liaison to the scavenger waste plant.

“It’s like anything,” she said. “You ask for your Christmas wish list and you get a couple of things on that list. You don’t get everything.”

The Town Board will discuss the details of the budget at a work session on Tuesday, October 9, at 11 a.m. A public hearing is scheduled for November 1. The Town Board is aiming to adopt the budget by November 20.

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East Hampton finances have come a long way thanks to the Wilkinson Team. Understandable why they are going up, and within the tax cap. Impressive. Congratulations, and THANK YOU! It will be interesting to see Ms. Overby try blame, first off, then to squirm, worm, point, accuse, blather and maneuver around a well-thought-out budget while trying to do what the Dems do best - raise taxes. Hoping VanScoyac hasn't drunk enough of the Kool-Aid to realize any increases in this budget will not sit ...more
By Board Watcher (532), East Hampton on Oct 4, 12 10:37 PM
Solid budget. Looks like the third year is the year where things get stabilized and the town can move forward knowing Wilkinson has navigated the town out of the dark days of McGintee and a 5-0 Dem majority. You would think Wilkinson's proven ability to structure and implement an effective recovery plan would result in the town board members giving him the opportunity to put the exclamation point on the recovery by letting him attempt his plan for the waste treatment plant. Other than that this ...more
By Yesouthh (21), water mill on Oct 5, 12 3:25 PM
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