Mineola village okays budget that lowers tax rate

James Galloway

The Mineola Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a $22 million budget last week that increases spending slightly but lowers residents’ property tax rates, taking advantage of the growing tax base from village development.

Under the budget, the tax rate for homeowners decreases by 28 cents to $3.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value, while tax rate for commercial properties decreases by 5 cents to $9.21.

The village’s tax levy itself still increased, albeit by less than two-tenths of a percent, to $13.5 million, a result of an increase in the tax rolls and increased property values in the village.

“When we look at the increase…you can’t get much better than that,” Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said.

Total spending for 2015-16 increases from the current fiscal year by $240,210, or about 1 percent, most of which is offset by increases in non-tax revenue.

The village board has made developing the village’s downtown area one of its signature policies.

“Our general feeling is growing the tax base is better for our residents than raising taxes,” village clerk Joseph Scalero said.

The motion to adopt the budget followed a less-than-10-minute public hearing attended only by two reporters.

The budget includes $50,000 for the village to begin its multi-year initiative to replace aging streetlights with more energy-efficient LED lights. In past years, the budget included a line for streetlight maintenance.

The village also increased its investment in infrastructure, raising curb maintenance spending by $25,000 and road maintenance by $20,000.  

The budget also continues to chip away at the village’s debt.

Since the New Line Party, which holds four seats on the board, assumed control several years ago, it has cut the village’s $33 million debt by more than half, something Trustee George Durham said is a result of the party’s “pay-as-you-go” policy that avoids borrowing.

“I think people are generally happy with what’s going on. There may be some people upset with certain things. But for the fiscal management of the village, I think people realize we’re doing things right by the village,” Durham said.

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