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Jun 24, 2009 3:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Supervisor proposes $1 million in budget cuts

Jun 24, 2009 3:12 PM

Ms. Kabot said the dramatic downturn in the economy and a drastic drop in mortgage tax revenues necessitate the cuts. Ms. Kabot said the expense side of the ledger for 2009 had to be reduced as the “rainy day” funds are dried up and not able to cover the projected loss.

According to Ms. Kabot, the struggling real estate market has resulted in less mortgage tax revenues. For the past several years, the town was able to over-budget its projected mortgage tax revenues by as much as $4 million, which aided the town in keeping property taxes low. In other words, the town would budget for $8 million in mortgage taxes, but would take in $12 million. That excess revenue offered the town a means to suppress the tax rate and offset spending. In crafting her 2009 budget, Ms. Kabot projected $7.5 million in mortgage taxes—a 30 percent decline from the $12 million generated in the past few years. But in the last six months, only $2.5 million in mortgage taxes have been collected and now town officials forecast only another $3 million to round out the year.

If that trend holds, then the town will have collected only $5.5 million in mortgage taxes for 2009, $2 million less than originally budgeted.

The budget cuts the Town Board is considering are merely “stop-gap” measures, according to the supervisor.

“Working with the Town Board, I will need to further pare down another $2 million by year-end 2009 going into 2010 due to lack of any further rainy day funds available to sustain staffing levels and existing programs,” Ms. Kabot said.

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Maybe they could sell the copper from the roof that was never authorized by the board members. Maybe one of Richard's two assistants with the identical titles each making over $100,000 could be released. I see lots of ways to cut the budget.
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Jun 24, 09 3:18 PM
Let's start with 5% pay cuts for supervisor and board members-that shows signs of good faith.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 24, 09 3:38 PM
The cuts are long overdue.

Permitting the Town Board to lift the 5% tax cap is a mistake. It is there for a reason, to control spending. The taxpayers should not be punished with tax increases in this economy because the Town Board failed monitor the books properly.

Every quote from Town officials is: "We have no idea of the state of the Town's finances". Lifting the cap will only give the Town Board more room to screw up.

By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Jun 24, 09 4:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good move, Linda -- or should I say, Good election year move!

I genuinely hope this isn't the latter.
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Jun 24, 09 5:06 PM
Sure, let's cut more staff from the Animal Shelter - pretty soon the dogs will be in charge of filling their own bowls and letting themselves out on bathroom breaks, while the cats clean their litter boxes.!

Take away from the ones who can't defend themselves or complain to the press - another good election year move!

So not impressed.
By barnbabe (64), westhampton beach on Jun 24, 09 5:32 PM
What about cutting the $100,000 salary for the job created for Brautigan as part of his demotion? What about cutting Blowes' salary? This is fluff -- the real story is the removal of the tax cap so they can begin gouging the tax payers again. The entire Planning Dept. could take a hike -- or go to Argentina -- and the Town would be richer and better for it.
By Phanex (83), Southampton on Jun 24, 09 5:49 PM
This budget is about to hit a flock of birds on takeoff--too bad Sully is not at the controls. There will be no soft landing in the cards for the taxpayer--prepare for impact.
By Doug Penny (63), Lexington, Virginia on Jun 24, 09 6:08 PM
The town needs money. I need a home. If the town allows me to build a small single family residence on my R-40 property (***outside the wetlands***) they can increase my $6.90 property tax to at least $5,000.00. Reasonable people can agree that this is a win-win proposition for everyone.
By William Haley (7), East Quogue on Jun 24, 09 7:04 PM
Good move Linda - its difficult to be cutting but you have to and you recognize the degree of the problem. You need to be considerate of the workforce - they are not to blame - but in return the workforce needs to realize the immediate savings is in personal service. Concessions are called for on the union's part - they should not take the negative role -they are as much part of the problem as the solution. Perhaps easier said than done but you can do it




will need to sacrifice ...more
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Jun 24, 09 8:49 PM
The tax cap law should be untouchable without voter approval. Its our only protection against irresponsible government.
By eastquogueguy (22), East Quogue on Jun 24, 09 9:04 PM
who in the heck voted for this one...?
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Jun 25, 09 6:28 AM
If the positions are vacant and not needed why were the filled during the year?
By 1whbny (5), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 09 8:09 AM
How about getting rid of the whole entire building department. There is not a
sole in that department that knows what the hell they are doing. They can all
be fired and some new fresh employees should get their jobs. That place
is a complete joke.
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Jun 25, 09 9:22 AM
STAMP on that, J. Totta!
By HEJIRANYC (32), Sag Harbor on Jun 25, 09 10:13 AM
To 1whbny

The postions were probably filled at the beginning of the year and then went vacant and not filled, but the full annual salary was still carried on the books. An example would be an employee is earning at a rate of $50,000 a year, works until June 30th, and then leaves. The position is then eliminated and the unspent salary of $25,000 becomes the savings for the year.
The Board really needs to act on this quickly and not waste time.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Jun 25, 09 10:56 AM
I'm sorry, ATH and Pope can't support this why? Do they think that once they have "real numbers" they won't have to cut millions? They know what they budgeted for mortgage revenue and they know the projected mortgage revenue. Comp. time in lieu of overtime is a good idea. Cutting travel expenses is a good idea. Why do NOTHING? At least do SOMETHING. The longer they pay overtime and "travel expenses", the more people will be laid off. For all of Kabot's bad decisions, these are some great ...more
By diy_guy (101), Southampton on Jun 25, 09 2:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
The Salaries of Town employees of greater than $50,000 shuld be ablt to be posted along with their positions. Its seems that there is alot of fluff at the top of the adminstration that should be trimmed. The people need to know who is working for us, what they do and how they are paid. You can only cut so much after that certain functions cannot occur but you cant cut on fiction you need fact. Shoot first ask later is not good managemanet skills, which got us here in the first place.
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on Jun 26, 09 6:44 AM
The Salaries of Town employees of greater than $50,000 shuld be ablt to be posted along with their positions. Its seems that there is alot of fluff at the top of the adminstration that should be trimmed. The people need to know who is working for us, what they do and how they are paid. You can only cut so much after that certain functions cannot occur but you cant cut on fiction you need fact. Shoot first ask later is not good managemanet skills, which got us here in the first place. Last paying ...more
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on Jun 26, 09 6:51 AM
Let's cut the patronage jobs that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars each year in wages, benefits and "unfunded" retirement liabilities that will haunt taxpayers for the next 5 decades. At what point will Linda, Chris and Nancy hone up to their past acts. This mess can't be blamed on the new board members...it goes back years! Walk up Southampton.
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Jun 26, 09 9:54 AM
Cut town government services, period! Do you think that everyday life will be affected by cutting town services? What they do affecets everyday people very little. With the exception of the police and fire departments, there isn't much else they do which the average taxpayer could not do without.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Jun 27, 09 8:22 PM
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