The Quogue Village Board approved a local law last week that will allow it, if necessary, to exceed the state’s new mandated tax cap should the need arise while hammering out the 2012-13 budget.
The board approved the law 4-0 during its last meeting, held on February 15. If necessary, the board can now pierce the 2 percent tax cap if at least three of its five members—a supermajority—approve the spending plan. Board member Kimberley Payne was not present at last week’s meeting.
The new tax cap limits how much local governments and school districts can collect in new taxes each year. Under the new rules, the tax levy, which is the total amount of property tax revenue collected, cannot be increased by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, in any given year.
According to Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius, he has been working on next year’s budget for the last few weeks and he anticipates presenting it to the board by the end of March. He said he is still unable to offer specifics at this time.
The village’s current $7.2 million budget included a 3 percent increase in spending that translated into a 3.8 percent increase in the village’s tax rate, which went from $1.81 to $1.88 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. As a result, the village’s tax levy increased about 3.9 percent from the previous fiscal year, a jump from approximately $5.9 million in 2010-11 to $6.1 million in 2011-12, according to Mr. Sartorius.
Prior to approving the legislation, board members hosted a public hearing on the ordinance. No one from the public addressed the board.
After closing the hearing, the board adopted Local Law Number 1 of 2012 that states: “It is the intent of this local law to allow the Village of Quogue to adopt a budget for the fiscal year commencing June 1, 2012 that requires a real property tax levy in excess of the ‘tax levy limit’ as defined by General Municipal Law.”
Mr. Sartorius has previously stated that the village planned to pass the law in case it needs to pierce the tax cap.
“I am pleased that the board did it,” Mr. Sartorius said this week. “I think it is the right thing to do. I think it protects the village in going over the 2 percent tax, a decision I think should be made locally.”
At the same meeting, board members agreed to push back their next regular meeting, originally scheduled for Friday, March 16, until Monday, March 19, in order to accommodate the religious needs of residents who are Orthodox Jews. Mr. Sartorius explained that an application for a Jewish religious boundary, called an eruv, will be discussed at that meeting, which begins at 10:30 a.m.