The Town of North Hempstead’s Town Board approved the town’s 2020 proposed budget at a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 30, by a vote of 5 to 1.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth voted in favor of the budget, as did councilmembers Viviana Russell, Peter Zuckerman, Angelo Ferrara and Veronica Lurvey. Dina De Giorgio cast the lone vote against the budget, while Lee Seeman was not present for the vote.
The $135.5 million adopted budget is divided into three portions: the town’s General Fund, which covers services and departments available to all Town of North Hempstead residents, such as town parks, the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Comptroller; the Town Outside Village (TOV) Fund, which provides services for town residents who live outside the boundaries of North Hempstead’s incorporated villages; and the 46 special districts that service town residents.
The General Fund will receive slightly under $69.5 million, about $800,000 more than in the town’s 2019 budget. Operating expenses are split almost identically to the 2019 budget, with the one change being the Department of Parks and Recreating receiving 26 percent of expenses rather than 25 percent. Twenty-two percent of the General Fund’s expenses are taken up by debt.
The TOV Fund is now approximately $38.2 million, a little over $1 million more than its 2019 counterpart. Commissioner Operated Special Districts take up $27.8 million, up from $27.6 million last year.
Bosworth commended the efforts of Town of North Hempstead Comptroller Tania Orenstein for preparing the budget, which keeps the town under the New York State tax cap for the sixth consecutive year since the supervisor took office in 2014.
“This 2020 budget continues to represent the fiscally conservative practices of my administration, while continuing to deliver essential services to our residents,” Bosworth said in a press release. “I am grateful to our comptroller Tania Orenstein and her staff for presenting this fair and responsible spending plan for our Town.”
De Giorgio, whose district covers Port Washington, was unable to respond to a request for comment on her “no” vote before publication of this article. However, at an Oct. 17 League of Women Voters forum that featured candidates for both town and county offices, she spoke about her hope that town taxes could be kept completely flat for 2020, not kept under the tax cap.
“I’d like to see the town have no property tax increase this year,” De Giorgio said at the forum. “I’d like to see a flat tax. Everyone makes much about staying under the tax cap, and that’s very important, but I think that we are in probably the best position this year to not raise taxes at all.”
The town board held a work session for the budget on Oct. 3, and public hearings on Oct. 10 and 24 at before the final vote. The Town of North Hempstead’s fiscal year is identical to the calendar year, so the FY 2020 budget will come into effect on Jan. 1.