During a special meeting on Thursday, November 12, the Southampton Town Board unanimously adopted a $108 million budget for 2021, which accounts for a 2.5-percent tax increase.
The approved budget is consistent with what Supervisor Jay Schneiderman proposed initially and debuted at the end of September. Describing it as a bare bones spending plan, the supervisor said it was the first time in two decades as an elected official he’s presented a budget with a tax increase. The increase, just under 2.5 percent, represents about $12 for a property valued at $500,000.
“It’s not a large increase, but I wish it wasn’t there,” the supervisor said, as he presented the document to fellow lawmakers on September 24. In total, the 2021 budget proposal calls for $107.6 million in expenditures, $33.5 million in revenue and a tax levy of $71.8 million.
Using credit from prior years, the budget stays below the state-mandated 2-percent cap on tax levy increases. It adjusts to confront an unanticipated skyrocketing of the cost of the town’s contribution to the New York State Retirement Fund, as well as increased costs and decreased revenues resulting from Southampton’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This budget was the most challenging the town has confronted since the economic downturn in 2009 and 2010,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “The enormous increase in our population began as early as April placed increased demand on many essential services and, as a result, increased costs.”
The Town Board also adopted its 2021-2025 Capital Budget and Capital Program. It was amended to include an upgrade for one of the Hampton Bays Water District’s well sites.