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Nov 18, 2011 5:26 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board Adopts 2012 Budget With $63.8 Tax Levy

Nov 22, 2011 10:17 AM

The Southampton Town Board approved an $80.3 million budget on Friday for 2012 that was balanced by the forced retirements of three rank-and-file Town Police officers, 18 voluntary civilian retirements, seven layoffs, and a number of staffing and department reorganizations.

Town spending next year will increase by about $71,000 under the plan, according to Town Comptroller Tamara Wright. That represents an overall increase of about 0.1 percent—one of the lowest increases in spending in town history, she said on Monday.

The $80.3 million spending plan does not factor in about $1.6 million to be allocated for a town-sponsored retirement incentive or payouts and unemployment costs associated with retirements and layoffs, she said. Those will be funded by bond proceeds and are not considered operating costs, she said.

The 2012 budget accounts for a tax rate increase from $1.36 to $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value, about a 2.26-percent increase, Ms. Wright said. For a home assessed at $600,000 that is situated outside an incorporated village, residents can expect to see about an $18.48 increase in their tax bills next year, from $816 to $834, if the assessed valuations of their homes have remained the same. Property owners within an incorporated village that doesn’t receive Town Police, Town Highway or Enhanced 911 services, and excluding special districts, will see a decrease in the tax rate by about 9.28 percent, from approximately 44 cents to 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. A resident with a $600,000 home within an incorporated village can expect to see about a $24.24 reduction in their tax bill next year, from about $261.19 to approximately $236.95.

Next year’s budget will account for a tax levy of $63.8 million, the total amount the town will collect in property taxes. The levy, according to Ms. Wright, would increase by about 1.2 percent from this year’s levy—well within a 2-percent tax levy cap mandated by New York State.

The measure to force police officers to retire had been the subject of much attention in this year’s budget negotiations. The plan relies on a provision of town code that enables the Town Board to opt to force officers to retire who have served the town for 20 years or more.

Ms. Throne-Holst, in her preliminary budget, proposed forcing the retirement of eight senior, high-ranking police officers, the majority of whom were members of the Superior Officers Association union. An amended version of that plan, proposed last week by Conservative Town Board member Jim Malone, will instead accept the retirements of four SOA members who have already filed papers to retire, while forcing three officers from the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the union representing rank-and-file members, to retire as well.

Mr. Malone’s measure passed with the support of his colleagues, Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski, both Republicans. Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat, voted no; Ms. Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member, declined to cast a vote, and so the measure passed.

Town Board members voted on a number of amendments to the budget. Mr. Nuzzi, Mr. Malone and Ms. Graboski voted down a $700,000 project to upgrade technology and equipment for the Town Police Department. The project was an effort to make the department less paper-driven, according to Police Chief William Wilson. After the meeting, Mr. Malone said the price tag “caused pause.” But he also noted that he would be willing to explore a less expensive approach to revamping technology, perhaps phasing in a new system or creating a pilot program.

Ms. Fleming sponsored a resolution that would have absorbed about $800,000 of next year’s retirement contribution costs into the town’s 2012 property tax levy, but the measure failed. Total retirement contribution costs for the Town of Southampton next year are approximately $7 million, according to Ms. Wright. New York State is offering a program that would allow the town to amortize $1.9 million of those costs at an adjustable interest rate that starts 5 percent, Ms. Fleming said. Instead of taking on the full $1.9 million, her rationale, she explained, was to avoid increasing debt and costs in the long run, and to absorb some of the expense next year. She estimated the total cost of the plan to be about an additional $11.40 in taxes for a resident with a home worth $600,000.

“The purpose of this amendment is to avoid as much as possible the use of a New York State plan for amortizing retirement costs,” she said. “The terms of this plan are not favorable to the town. It’s a 5 percent interest rate. It’s a variable interest rate.”

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Good vote on the $700,000 project.
By fix-it-now (216), sag harbor on Nov 18, 11 7:03 PM
I agree. When the company I work for switched to a new computer system, work almost ground to a stand still because of all the training required and problems with the hardware/software. Now is not the time to change when there are not enough cops as it is and overtime is $100,000 a month.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Nov 19, 11 10:16 AM
The economy is bad, crime is growing, my neighor and I both had our cars broken into, they're raising our taxes and taking away police. Yeah....the board is doing a great job. The new tax levy I can deal with but, when I call police and they cant respond because there are none, then I'll have the names of the town board at the top of my lawsuit. Hey Nuzzi are you going to guarantee the towns safety?
By khan (36), hampton bays on Nov 18, 11 8:57 PM
To the point and direct cut the salary of the officers to half. In other counties policers officers receive close to 27,000 so the officers out here wouldn't actuall loose anything.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Nov 19, 11 12:31 PM
What? In what counties do they receive that pay? Stand by your statement. Are you talking about third world countries? Go live there than.
I believe even in the city the lowest pay was 35,000.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Nov 19, 11 2:29 PM

Nuzzi, quick, answer the Officer!

By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 18, 11 9:49 PM
Yeah, thats your usual response for someone that goes against the people you support. Get off your knees and look for the community not yourself.
By khan (36), hampton bays on Nov 19, 11 10:50 AM
There is no shortage of cops in Southampton. The most common complaints are lack of professionalism, care and competence. Who is (not) training these officers? I want my tax dollars to be put to work. Investing in a mismanaged underwhelming police force is not going to accomplish this.
By Rocco (1), Southampton on Nov 18, 11 11:03 PM
I say hire officers from other counties and get rid of the neptism. This is what makes the police officers feel that they can do anything and get away with it, which they usually do. First rule of thumb we aren't in the 1600's anymore. No more cover ups no more selective policing. If you hold a post as a judge you shouldn't practice in the county you live in and your brother shouldn't be the attorney of police chief. To much gets brushed under the rug and real justice at least in my point of ...more
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Nov 19, 11 12:50 PM
Why don't you worry about your own police dept in WHB. That's a real 3 ring circus.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 19, 11 1:31 PM
Could the Town stop answering alarm calls for the alarm companies? How much time and paper work is wasted doing their business for them?
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Nov 19, 11 12:01 AM
Are you saying the alarm companies not only provides monitoring services but owns the houses as well? Wow, what a racket!

The police are responding to the house, which is owned by the property tax paying homeowner. If it is chronic for a particular house then the police bill the property tax payer not the alarm companies.
By baymen1984 (5), Sag Harbor on Nov 19, 11 12:55 AM
I am saying let them respond to their own calls with their own security people. The point is not to waste the Towns limited resources filling the requirements of the alarm companies business model.
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Nov 19, 11 9:52 AM
Well keep in mind that the homeowner is a taxpayer and is entitled to police services. Additionally the alarms do play a vital role in deterrence which helps with lowering the crime rate, contributes to maintaining lower insurance, and also reduces the need for more police and detectives. That's what I believe.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Nov 19, 11 1:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well I think its the politicians fault. All of it. Instead of rewarding these huge settlements to unions in exchange for political security, maybe they should focus on legit fiscal responsibility. Which yes, includes tax increases consistent with the rate of inflation. It appears the police tax could have clearly been pierced if not for bipartisan politics, which started over the Republicans not getting their police chief. Roughly a 2% raise in the police tax in Southampton Town would result ...more
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 19, 11 4:18 AM
Addendum. I am waiting for these politicians to injure them selves, patting themselves on the back. "I am glad we made such flexible adjustments to discuss this matter, to create a solution, that solution being more dialogue, to discuss this matter, I am very pleased to have done that" I direct this at Malone directly, and respectfully request he gets a clue, but it seems like he needs a public speaking coach first. Zero confidence in the whole board to act the proper way. Would feel the same ...more
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 19, 11 4:32 AM

Sorry whatever your name is. Your post flies in the face of reality. Malone is simply trying to be fiscally responible in regard to the out of control spending of the Police Dept which was the biggest culprit in Heaney's financial disaster of the last decade.

On top of the massive fiscal deficits that Heaney orchestrated in his tenure was the Town Police Dept with accumulated Deficits of about $8 Million on top of the out of this world salaries, benefits, overtime, and pensions they ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 19, 11 10:35 AM
1) The 8 million dollar deficit was because town hall put the money into the wrong fund rather than the police fund. It had nothing to do with the police department. during the Kabot administration the error was found and fixed.
2) In the current contract the did not get any back pay for two years that they worked without a contract. That means they gave up two years of raises. Not a pay cut but also doen't sound like "damanding ever higher salaries"
3) Malone is forcing the layoff of cops ...more
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Nov 19, 11 10:55 AM
2 members liked this comment

Definitely not true sir! The Police deficits were cash deficits from spending that went unnoticed over several years because as the forensic auditors said, the fund accounting during that period was a shambles and had no relation to reality.

Heaney believed that if no one could figure out how the books stood, who's going to find out anything.

UNFORTUNATELY, AFTER THE TAXPAYERS HAVING HAD TO SPEND CLOSE TO $1.5 MILLION IN FORENSIC ACCOUNTING FEES JUST TO RECONSTRUCT THE MICKEY ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 19, 11 6:07 PM
You are so wrong. I would encourage all to read the July 22nd 2009 of the Southampon Press. In case you dont want to face reality I would like to share he first few lines with everyone. "Five straight years of fiscal mismanagement by Southampton Town officials—not the police department—resulted in a budget deficit in the town’s police fund that reached as much as $8 million before settling at $4.6 million at the end of 2007, according to FTI Consulting, the firm hired last July ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 19, 11 8:34 PM
Oh you poor dear Lifesaver, you can't even read a newspaper properly. But of course, 5 straight years of Heaney fiscal mismanagement resulted in the huge budget deficits that caused the $8 Million Police Deficit. Town officials were in control and could have stopped the checks the Police were writing but didn't. That was Heaney's and Charlene Kagel's job pointed out by the forensic auditors.

That didn't mean or say that the Police didn't spend any of that $8 Million as you imply - THEY ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 20, 11 12:05 AM
Oh, poor Obbservant, you can't even read a newspaper properly. If you bothered to read the story you would see that it was town hall that put the money into the incorrect fund. NOT mismanagement by the police department. Since you think it is a "alleged quote" here is the link and you can see that the quote was is from the first few lines and was not adulterated in any way. http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/Southampton/223335/Police-deficit-the-result-of-town-officials-mismanagement-report-says/start/2
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 20, 11 8:45 AM
1 member liked this comment

Lifesaver, my challenge for you to provide documented statements that none of those deficits were expenditures of the Police Dept,. remain unanswered.

They either were or they weren't. You either produce them or they don't exist.
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 20, 11 4:40 PM
Its a play on the television show L.O.S.T. which is what we are in Southampton. Fact is this. raise the police tax annually as needed, don't give them more money and fail to adjust. Its poor fiscal management at the board level first.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 20, 11 4:57 PM
No you didnt ask if the police spent the money. Read the comments above. You accused the police of mismanagement of the money. If you actually read the story you will find ou that Spinny oho is correct and that it was town hall who put the money in the wrong fund, not police mismanagement. I would also like to inform you that payroll and retirement fund payments to the state originate at town hall, not the police department. So once again I have to say the police did not improperlyy benefit from ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 20, 11 5:18 PM
Like the auditors said, NO out of control police spending, NO abuse of overtime, NO SIGNS of fiscal mismangement, ONLY Town Hall that forgot to put money aside for pay and benefits. In other words
"1) The 8 million dollar deficit was because town hall put the money into the wrong fund rather than the police fund. It had nothing to do with the police department. during the Kabot administration the error was found and fixed.
Just like my previous post said.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Nov 20, 11 5:27 PM
2 members liked this comment

Wrong again, Lifesaver. You responded first to this comment of mine to Spinny:

"For you to claim the Police Dept had absolutely nothing to do and never benefitted from the $8 Million deficits, I have a bridge to sell to you in NYC - really cheap and a wonderful value. "

So please prove that the Police had nothing to do with the $8 Million expenditures and they never benefitted from the money! You are just parsing words. If you can't provide proof, you can't. Your sophomoric ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 21, 11 12:55 AM
hey Obbservant grow up and learn to read. you are very childish and refuse to admit you are totally WRONG and absolutely clueless.
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 21, 11 8:01 AM
Observant could care less about facts.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Nov 21, 11 9:58 AM
Obbservant could not care less about facts.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Nov 22, 11 11:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
What Mr Malone so graciously did yesterday was eliminate positions within the Police Department without actually coming out and saying it, the board voted down the the chiefs technology upgrade but now also want to fire or lay off police officers? where's the service to the town.....The board and the new police chief is faced with an uphill battle in trying to move the police dept forward in a place that was stagnant for the last 40 years under the old regime.

Also if Malone touts himself ...more
By mrobin (121), North Sea on Nov 19, 11 11:52 AM
The 2011 adopted budget showed SHTPD total compensation at $16,492,091, and the adopted operating budget came in at $18,515,237.
By Mr. Z (11845), North Sea on Nov 19, 11 11:17 PM
The STPD is finally being made to bear its share of the budget crunch and the Town is finally enforcing the Town Code that requires cops to retire after twenty years. Hallelujah! This is a $2M+ annual saving (assuming 10 cop retirements.) And the ridiculous $700K "technology upgrade" that would have allowed the STPD to process DWI busts quicker has been rejected. Thank god! Perhaps the Town will now look into a "technology upgrade" in the patrol cars (in the form of always-on, inside & outside, ...more
By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Nov 20, 11 12:24 AM
1 member liked this comment
You finally got what you want but you may be in for a surprise next year. Over the past several years the police department went from about 106 down to 91. There needs to be about 96 officers to run. Even Malone knows that. That is also why overtime is through the roof and the town board just approved another $100,000. Malone plan is to get rid of four from the PBA and replace them with cheaper new hires. Look at the Resolution 2011-1175 items # 5 and 6, which was passed on Friday, you will see ...more
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Nov 20, 11 10:00 AM
You carry on, like its the cops fault. Its management and the politicians fault. Which ironically is relatively unaffected. Gee four tops guys get a reward to retire a few months early. Then u force out the top patrol guys, even though they have no baring in how the place is run. Whether its the police department, of its like private practice. fiscal responsibility falls on those in charge. They have failed her no the workers.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 21, 11 2:06 PM
heay wha about the other csea members that were on the chopping block remeber them about 20 or so whats going to happen with that????
By redtransam89 (4), east quogue on Nov 20, 11 8:40 AM
Nineteen of them took buy outs. Which is funny. as the members of the SOA, some of them with 30 years of police service opted not to take that 1,000k/year buyout. Not sure how they can legally tell some cop with 26 years he has to go, but let a lieutenant, with 30 years he can stay ( the cost parity has to be in favor of forcing the lieutenant to retire). Quite frankly, I support keeping the police intact, as they are much cheaper then the County Police. But if you are gonna retire them. I ...more
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 20, 11 4:54 PM
to Spinny OHO:

As you point out, the Chief has simply allowed more overtime to compensate for the lower strength and gone to the Town Council for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional expense that this entails. He has followed standard operating procedure. Historically, and ALONE of all departments, whenever the STPD has gone over budget, it has demanded more money from the Town Council and the Town Council has meekly ponied up.

This has to stop. Just as any other ...more
By highhatsize (4216), East Quogue on Nov 20, 11 6:19 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By theshtdharmainitiative (12), Southampton on Nov 21, 11 12:16 AM
Correction, it should have been 92 officers. I got that from the town board work session on 11/15/11 and zoom ahead on the clock until about 1:11:50.
And to Obbservant, just give it up, your wrong and the auditors that you previously praised said so.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Nov 21, 11 7:53 AM
1 member liked this comment

Spinny, I've repeated my challenge several times in black and white and it equally goes to you. You know the terms of my challenge and you either answer it or you don't!
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 22, 11 11:50 AM
Hey,obsevant, instead of you challenging others to disprove your assertions, why not challenge yourself to prove it?
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 11 12:47 PM
1 member liked this comment

fcmcmann: You have a long history of muddled illogical thinking and ignorance . In the basic principles of argumentation and debate, it is fundamental that he who asserts must prove! Spinny and Lifesaver have made repeated assertions about the absolute innocence of the Police Dept in those expenditures, speciously using supposed specific forensic auditor finddings.

I merely asked them to prove the Police Dept had absolutely nothing to do with those deficit expenditures! I'm waiting ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 22, 11 12:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
Obbservant which you are not. How much more proof do you need other than town hired FTI Consulting firm for $150k to audit the books. Senior Managing Director Brian Ong did a FORENSIC AUDIT and PROVED the police deparment had NOTHING to do with the mismanagent of funds it was SOUTHAMPTON TOWN OFFICIALS. The funds were deposited into the wrong account. You are the ignorant one here. I have given you the name of the consulting firm and the person who did the audit. I don't see anyone backing you ...more
By lifesaver (118), speonk on Nov 22, 11 3:26 PM
lifesaver, observant only asks for proof so that she can then claim it is untrue without every actually providing evidence of her claims. Do not waste your time on this simpleton.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Nov 22, 11 4:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
HHS blabbers: Historically, and ALONE of all departments, whenever the STPD has gone over budget, it has demanded more money from the Town Council and the Town Council has meekly ponied up.

Please back that up with ANY documentation or valid source. Really, show me where once in the last 15 years the SHTPD has gone over budget. Not that bogus deficit... but show us where the last Chief ever went to the Town Board and asked for more money. Please. Anything. Hello?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 30, 11 9:34 PM

"Your nom de plume is very apropos-"BLANK".

The drama we are seeing now at Town Board about the overtime deficits being created and discussed in yesterday's Town Board meeting was about approving more money to fund PD overtime deficits that were not in the BUDGET. It appears the Town will end up with over $800K in overtime deficits which only two months ago were surprisingly presented as being a little over $400K. THIS WAS WHY NUZZI AND MALONE WERE TEARING THEIR HAIR OUT IN FRUSTRATION, ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 1, 11 10:42 AM
The reasons for this years shortfall have been well documented here and elsewhere, Observant.
Now again, show me where once in the last 15 years the PD went to the Town Board for more money outside of the budget> Put up or shut up, dude.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 1, 11 10:57 AM
With Kabot back on the loose we need an entire task force just to follow her
By littleplains (305), olde england on Nov 22, 11 3:54 PM