Sagaponack Budget comes in just over $500,000


On Monday, at their regular board meeting, the Sagaponack board of trustees were given their first look at Mayor Don Louchheim’s tentative budget. The spending plan is expected to be just over half-a-million dollars and residents may be seeing a slight reduction in their property taxes if the tentative budget is adopted.

Louchheim gave his 2009-2010 budget message and during the presentation, announced that, despite the acquisition and renovation of the new village hall, there would be “no increase in the village tax rate, for the third year in a row.”

Further, Louchheim added, “village taxpayers will continue to pay no more in total property taxes than they would have if the village had not been incorporated.”

Total spending in the new budget is estimated at $548,809, down slightly from the $552,873 the year prior.

According to Louchheim, the new debt service costs from the village hall project “will be offset by lower, more realistic projections” of the net costs of the land use department, based on its first full year of operations.

He also noted that village voters approved borrowing up to $2 million for the project — but the total cost of the building was held at $1.5 million and the bond is expected to be less than $1 million.

Louchheim also explained for a home assessed at $1 million, it will cost a homeowner $82.80 in taxes, which is a slight reduction from $83.40 last year.

On Monday, Louchheim also announced projections for revenues other than property taxes including mortgage taxes, franchise taxes and other fees — which he said would be $283,350.

Louchheim said the amount expected to be raised by property taxes would be $265,459. According to the mayor, the tax levy also includes $100,000 to be added to a capital reserve fund for future road improvement projects, as has been done in the last two years.

“During the previous and current fiscal years the village has achieved operating surpluses, primarily as a result of higher than expected mortgage tax receipts,” said Louchheim. He said the bulk of these surplus funds will be used to reduce the amount borrowed for the village hall project.

Although village voters approved borrowing up to $2 million for the project, the total cost of the new village hall and renovations to the property were held at $1.5 million. According to Louchheim, the bond issue amount for the new village hall is expected to be no more than $1 million.

“The new budget includes a one-time expense of $37,000 in fees for the bond issue and a debt service cost of $74,854 for 2009-2010,” the mayor said. He added that until the bond is retired, the annual debt service amount will be “about the same.”

“So there should be no adverse debt service impact on future tax rates,” said the mayor.

In closing, Louchheim said he was proud of the young village government, which he added has achieved a “great deal in a short period of time.”

“We are fortunate to have truly involved and highly motivated residents on our board of trustees and two land use boards, as well as a talented, dedicated and enthusiastic administrative staff,” said Louchheim who told the trustees he believed they would find the budget to be fairly “straight forward.”

In the tentative budget, revenue from the building department is projected to be half of what was collected over 2008-2009. Likewise, mortgage tax revenue is also expected by the mayor to see a reduction of $122,620 over last year.

Trustee Alfred Kelman said the budget appeared to be a “superb analysis.”

On Monday, March 23, there will be a work session on the tentative budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, at 4 p.m. at village hall in Sagaponack.

In other Sagaponack news, the village hall is moving forward as planned. The building repairs and “touch-ups” have been completed, according to the mayor. The parking lot and the sidewalk were expected to be finished earlier this week.

Kelman said he visited the new site on Monday and joked that he engraved his initials into the sidewalk.

Village clerk Rhodi Winchell gave other updates for the new village hall and how it is progressing. She said the sprinkler and lawn are now completed, the fencing and floors have been re-done and the phone system has been ordered.

Louchheim said he is working on buying lumber and finishing a new table for the village hall.

The trustees also looked at some possible signage for the new building. Deputy Mayor Lee Foster showed a possible design of the new sign that would hang outside village hall along Montauk Highway.

Trustee Joy Sieger was concerned about the size of the lettering on the sign that was estimated to be four inches in height. She said motorists might have a hard time making out the wording.

Sieger also noted that a flag pole would need to be considered for their new hall.