Unless some 11th-hour cuts are made, the Sag Harbor Village Board is expecting to pierce the New York State cap on tax levy increases with this year’s proposed $12.6 million budget.
Under the plan, spending will increase by about $623,000 over last year’s $12.03 million budget. Although that represents an increase of about 5.2 percent, taxes are expected to rise by about 8 percent.
The tax cap, which aims to control spending so it remains in line with inflation, would limit the increase to 3.7 percent, according to Treasurer Timothy Bullock.
The Village Board will hold a budget hearing when it meets on April 13, and the budget has to be adopted by May 1.
This week, Mr. Bullock pointed to several big-ticket items, from increased professional paramedic services and extended hours at Village Justice Court, to the need for a new dump truck for the Highway Department and office furnishing for the Building Department and other village offices, as making up the lion’s share of the proposed spending increase.
On the revenue side, the village received good news from Suffolk County, which restored a proposed $77,000 cut in police aid and will instead provide the originally budgeted $154,000.
The largest biggest spending increase comes for paid paramedics, who will be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve as first responders in conjunction with the Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps. In the past, paid paramedics were only on duty five days a week.
The budget contains $266,797 for salaries, a roughly $127,000 increase over last year’s budgeted amount. Benefits for that position are being factored in at $50,500, about a $31,000 increase over last year’s $19,600 amount.
Other major proposed expenses include $65,000 for a new dump truck for the Highway Department and $33,000 for a hybrid vehicle for code enforcement.
The village will also expect to spend $85,960, up from about $63,000 last year, to increase staffing at its Justice Court. Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said the court has experienced a serious backlog in cases because of the pandemic, so it is necessary to try to expand the days it is open as conditions improve.
The board is also increasing the budget line for park employees from $27,000 last year to $45,000 to reflect actual expenses.
Village offices will also be updated with new furnishings, including ergonomic chairs, new desks, and partitions. The village proposes to spend $24,500 to renovate and refurnish the Building Department and another $19,500 for similar work in the first-floor offices.