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Sep 28, 2017 1:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Supervisor Presents Proposed $99 Million Budget For 2018

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman presented his proposed budget for 2018 on Thursday. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Oct 4, 2017 12:30 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman presented his proposed $99.4 million budget for 2018 last week, taking advantage of rising assessed property values to fund a 5-percent spending increase while still cutting the overall tax rate.

“The total valuation increased in every single school district in town,” said Mr. Schneiderman, noting that such an increase hasn’t occurred townwide in 15 years.

According to a chart included in the tentative budget, the assessed value in the town in 2017-18 is projected to be $63.69 billion, a nearly $3 billion—or about 5-percent—increase over the current year. That’s about equal to the proposed spending increase over this year’s $94.7 million budget.

“Why do poor property values go up? Because people want to live here,” Mr. Schneiderman said during his presentation.

His spending plan includes proposed raises for virtually every elected official and administrative employee at Town Hall—including a raise of nearly $9,000, or 8 percent, for himself, and a whopping 52-percent increase for Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone.

Mr. Zappone made $50,000 in salary this year, and the supervisor’s budget would raise that figure to $76,000 in the 2018 budget, plus another $20,255 in benefits. His salary in 2016 was $30,000, plus $7,726 in benefits.

Mr. Schneiderman defended the move for his deputy supervisor, saying Mr. Zappone is underpaid. “We’re trying to get something of a more meaningful salary” for the position, he said.

The supervisor noted that the deputy supervisor has evolved over the years, as has the compensation: At times it has been a full-time job, at other times it involved a stipend. Currently, it’s considered a part-time post, and Mr. Zappone had made $30,000 a year since his hiring in 2009, after retiring as a school administrator, until his raise this year.

As for his own increase, Mr. Schneiderman argued that he’s underpaid compared to other supervisors in Suffolk County. But he added that he would have “no objections” if the Town Board opted to nix his proposed raise, or settled on a lower number.

Mr. Schneiderman added that he doesn’t take health insurance benefits from the town, though his overall benefits package totals $27,656 in the proposed budget, which is actually down slightly from the current year.

The proposed budget also would push total compensation for Town Board members to $108,652, with salaries of $65,795. The salaries are up about 2 percent, and total compensation would rise about 3.6 percent.

Overall spending would climb by about $4.7 million, but the tentative plan carries a tax rate of $1.389 per $1,000 of assessed valuation—a 0.6-percent decrease from the current rate of $1.398 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The combination of rising assessments and dropping tax rate will cancel out in a broad sense, but individual property tax bills will go up or down depending on the change in assessment.

Mr. Schneiderman credited the rise in property values to such features as the creation of new parks, an effective police department and a healthy environment.

Town Comptroller Len Marchese, who helped develop the tentative budget, said most of the increases in the budget are due to insurance and salary increases.

The proposed budget includes contractual salary increases across the board. There is only one added position: a full-time code enforcement officer.

Mr. Schneiderman also noted an addition to the total budget of a $1 million “pay as you go” fund that was created so that some purchases—such as town vehicles—can be bought without having to pay interest on a bond. The fund increases spending upon creation, but it will end up decreasing the amount of debt racked up by the town in the long run, Mr. Marchese explained.

In fact, lowering debt is a large aspect of the supervisor’s plan. In the 2018 budget, Mr. Schneiderman said he plans to create “significant reductions in the overall town debt.” The town’s overall debt currently stands at approximately $110.2 million.

Mr. Schneiderman said he plans to reduce the total outstanding debt in the town by $5 million; last year, it was reduced by $7 million, he said.

The budget also includes funding for some capital projects, including upgrades to the Ponquogue Beach pavilion, road improvements, road upgrades, the installation of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system at Town Hall, and upgrades to the town’s Jackson Avenue facilities, among other initiatives.

The Town Board will have a chance to review and revise the budget before a final spending plan is approved in November.

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Let a politician get his hands on more money and they always find a way to spend it. A 5% increase in spending is ridiculous and will be forever built-in to future budgets.
By HamptonDad (112), Hampton Bays on Sep 28, 17 7:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Increase the net worth of the town by raising the individual property assessment and lowering a tax rate. Doesn't that seem like a flimflam? All the tax payers see is a tax decrease, but the total evaluation of your property goes up meaning we raised the amount of money you pay, but we have a mini discount for you so you will not pay as much ,but thete is good chance your taxes will go up. Where does the increase amount needed come from? Increased tax payments for sure!!
By Gene10x (20), Southampton on Sep 29, 17 1:06 AM
Bottom line is property owners with an increased assessment will pay MORE in taxes not less. Smoke and mirrors Jay.
By razza5350 (1860), East Hampton on Sep 29, 17 5:59 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not True. The town budget is spread across all the properties in the town. When values or assessments increase, the tax rate decreases as the town cannot raise more money than it needs. An increase in assessment does not mean an increase in your property taxes, unless you were under assessed and they finally caught up with you.
By North Sea Citizen (454), North Sea on Sep 29, 17 6:32 AM
yeah and how about school taxes ??? Assessment goes up they all go up
By CaptainSig (647), Dutch Harbor on Sep 29, 17 7:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ever think of less spending???
By knitter (894), Southampton on Sep 29, 17 11:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ever think of less spending???
By knitter (894), Southampton on Sep 29, 17 11:51 AM
Sorry North Sea Citizen, but you are doing the math wrong or not explaining it. If the Town taxes go up and everyone's assessment goes up equally, your Town taxes go up. PERIOD If your assessment does not go up and your neighbors does, potentially your taxes may go down, but your neighbors will go up more than the increase in the increase in taxes. It is all about ratios.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on Sep 29, 17 12:00 PM
you guys are funny! Who's on first???
By MichaelDaly (5), Sag Harbor, New York on Sep 29, 17 4:05 PM
I am not sure what you mean. The Town and the School District has "spun" the increase in taxes for years like we are idiots. Taxes go up PERIOD. Just because based on some ratio against assessed valuation the tax RATE goes down really doesn't matter much especially if everyone's assessed value goes up at the same rate.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on Sep 30, 17 8:43 AM
did you notice how the library budget went up due to, as they said, a necessary increase in salaries due to the new $15/hr state minimum wage? The min wage in NY is NOT $15/hr (not for another 4-5 yrs). They are either idiots or liars. Ive tried to get a copy of their budget but get no response
By CaptainSig (647), Dutch Harbor on Oct 1, 17 1:00 PM
Over assessed property means refunds to the taxpayer, not a 5% increase in spending and an 8% increase for the Supervisor!!!!! And where is the land preservation money; I don't see much land preservation.
By rvs (78), sag harbor on Oct 5, 17 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you! I couldn't agree more. Where is all of the CPF money going. I don't see a whole lot of land preservation. I see houses going up everywhere!
By Hillsnbells (37), Southampton on Oct 5, 17 11:16 AM
Isn't it wonderful how law makers in this country get to vote themselves raises !

Has everyone forgotten that the last time the Southampton Board met, the forced a 5 year reset for false alarms. Yes, this was better than a NO RESET which was totally unfair. But they promised to go back to the table and reduce the reset period to 1 year or 18 month. Seems like this is now a dead issue. Southampton just wants to sneak revenue raising factors into our lives. In this world, people don't get ...more
By jediscuba (24), Suthampton on Oct 5, 17 1:21 PM
OK so Jay decreased the budget last year by 2 percent and now is increasing it 5 percent this year. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? is it possible he has no idea what he is doing? Is it possible that he hopes no one will notice since the economy is better. Do they need the money to pay for his "longevity bonus"and jay mobile that the three 3J's approved Day One. Zero leadership.
By HB Proud (780), Hampton Bays on Oct 6, 17 11:54 AM
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