“And yep, we are piercing the cap.”
So said Sag Harbor Village Mayor Sandra Schroeder during a public hearing on a proposed $11.47 million budget, which the board adopted following a public hearing that drew no comments from a small audience during the monthly meeting of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees Tuesday night.
The 2019-20 budget, adopted unanimously by the board save Trustee Jim Larocca, who was absent from the meeting, represents a $570,942 or 5.24 percent increase over the 2018-19 budget. The budget is just a little more than one-percent over the village’s state mandated tax levy cap of 7.45 percent. However, because of increases in assessed valuation of properties throughout Sag Harbor Village, Ms. Schroeder noted Tuesday that while expenses are up for the village, the tax rate has actually decreased from 2.72 percent last year to 2.58 percent in the new proposed budget. For a property assessed at $1.48 million, village taxes are estimated to be $3,842.75 under the newly adopted budget compared to $4,043.43 under the current spending plan.
“I want to thank every one of you for all your work on this including our department heads,” Ms. Schroeder said Tuesday night. “It is a good budget.”
“The budget for 2019-20 is a good budget and a sound budget,” said Trustee Ken O’Donnell. “There are no frills and it is what has to be done to have the village run properly.”
During village elections on June 18, residents will weigh in on whether or not to increase the LOSAP, or length of service award program for the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corp., from $20 to $30 per month. The pension-like incentive program for the volunteer force gives volunteers a state-approved benefit once they reach retirement age based on their length of service within the Corps.
The Sag Harbor Village Ambulance Corps has seen a steady increase in the number of calls it answers over the last decade. On Tuesday, Ms. Schroeder noted that last year in March, volunteers worked over 800 hours; this year those hours topped 1,000.
“It is obviously warranted with everything they do for the community,” said Mr. O’Donnell of the proposed increase in LOSAP for ambulance corps members.
Lastly, Kay P. Lawson has been named chairperson for the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board, following the resignation of John Shaka, who announced his retirement from the position in March with plans to move overseas. Ms. Lawson will be the third chair of that board in the last year — Gregory Ferraris, a former mayor and member of the village board of trustees and longtime chair of the planning board announced his resignation in August of 2018 in an effort to focus on family and his Sag Harbor-based accounting business.