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Jul 22, 2015 10:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Trustees To Adopt First Public Budget

Jul 22, 2015 10:43 AM

The Southampton Town Trustees will adopt their first ever public budget and have scheduled a public hearing on it for August 3.

No figures have been released yet, but the Trustees said they plan to adopt a spending plan for the rest of the year to be more transparent and tighten up procedures. In the past, the Trustees, who cannot levy taxes, have adopted a budget internally through discussions among themselves and with the Town Board.

The Trustees’ treasurer, Scott Horowitz, said he hopes that by formally adopting a budget the Trustees will improve their relationship with the Town Board, whose overall budget contributes money to the Trustees for salaries and maintenance, and whose members have expressed concerns about the Trustees’ budgeting procedures in the past.

“I think it is important for the people to understand the amount of money the board spends on protecting public access and natural resources,” Mr. Horowitz said this week. “I think it is important for people to see and know the revenues and what the revenues are, because it is public money and it is an important responsibility.”

According to Trustee Eric Shultz, in the past the Trustees would sit down at the beginning of the year and create a wish list of projects for each of their specific coverage areas. Then, they would present a budget proposal that covered those projects to the town supervisor. However, without fixed annual revenue, it had never been necessary for the Trustees to take the extra step of presenting the budget to the public.

Mr. Shultz said he is hopeful that in the future the Trustees will be treated like other governing boards, such as fire and school districts, and will be able to levy taxes on their own behalf to have better control over their flow of money. He added that that would require new legislation.

“The Trustees, which is the oldest board in North America, doesn’t have the same rights as a fire department, which has the ability to anticipate what their needs are and to have a budget on the tax bill,” Mr. Shultz said.

Each year, the Trustees bring in approximately $250,000 in permit and docking fees. Then, in 2013, they were able to sell sand dredged from the Mecox Bay cut for $1.2 million, money that was partially used to buy new equipment and trucks. However, it also gave the Trustees a substantial amount of money that needed to budgeted, leading Mr. Horowitz to start the process.

This week, Mr. Horowitz said he is meeting with the town attorneys and town comptroller to review the budget, which would carry the Trustees through the second half of the year. If the system they adopt works now, Mr. Horowitz said, they will work together to create a new budget for next year. He added that adopting a public budget should improve relations with the Town Board, which in November chastised the Trustees for not having submitted budget information earlier.

The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 3, at 1 p.m. in the Southampton Town meeting room on the second floor of town hall.

“For us to have a good relationship with the town will be a positive for everybody in this community, and that is what we need,” Mr. Horowitz said. “When we can sit down and have a conversation and show everybody that we are working to the same standards the Town Board is working to, and it is more clear what our revenues and expenses are, it will make the relationship better, and people will feel better knowing their taxpayer money is being safeguarded.”

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Is Mr Warner still the Pres. Of the trustees. Horowitz is playing the game so he can move forward in the political game.
By Resident tax (183), Hampton bays ny on Jul 22, 15 3:20 PM
Is Mr Warner still the Pres. Of the trustees. Horowitz is playing the game so he can move forward in the political game.
By Resident tax (183), Hampton bays ny on Jul 22, 15 3:21 PM
Warner is a joke, a puppet in way over his head. Watch a meeting on TV he is a nervous wreck, he reads at a first grade level, still doesnt know how to run a mtg shuffles papers NON STOP. If you look closely you can see whorowits hand up his back. Big mouth always talking doing nothing. Put schultz back in charge
By PoliticallyIncorrect (45), earth on Jul 24, 15 6:26 AM
Thanks Scott, and all the trustees for praticing open goverment.
By taxpayer1 (72), Southampton on Jul 22, 15 6:49 PM
The person in the trustee group who will fix the roads in Remsenburg (ie: Tuthill Lane needs to be repaired after 10 years of a few patches, and, is too narrow for safe passage of two vehicles going in opposite directions) will surely get our votes next election. They should allow for a new road and highway man who claims no budget funds and them repaves the cemetery roadway, and while they are at it, the Supervisor who is looking to advance herself. Give the taxpayers a break and some value for ...more
By Ibill (47), remsenburg on Jul 23, 15 2:18 PM
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