New Hyde Park village budget lowest since tax cap took effect

Noah Manskar

The 2016-2017 budget New Hyde Park’s Village Board approved last Tuesday contains a seven-cent property tax rate increase, the lowest since the state’s tax cap law took effect in 2012.

After a recent decrease in the village’s property tax assessment roll, the tax levy will increase 0.31 percent, or about $13,000, down from the original 0.64-percent hike, Mayor Robert Lofaro said April 19.

The average property tax bill will increase $3.78, down from $7 in the previous larger levy, Lofaro said.

“We thought $7 was too much, I guess, so we reduced it down to $3.78, so hopefully that’s not a hardship on anybody,” he said.

The state-mandated cap on a levy increase fell to 0.31 percent after the assessment roll fell by just more than $1,000 to about $19.7 million, Lofaro said. 

The village cut vehicle fuel expenses in response, he said.

Medical, dental and vision insurance expenses increased further after the village presented its tentative budget April 4, leading it to cut $8,000 in accrued liability reserves, Lofaro said.

The $4.2 million tax levy accounts for about two-thirds of the revenue in the $6.1 million budget.

The budget also hikes the price of “R” residential parking permits from $75 to $100, which the village projects will increase parking lot permit revenue by about $20,000.

Salaries and benefits are major drivers of increases in expenses, with medical, dental and vision insurance spending increasing $46,855 to $825,178. 

The 2-percent salary increase is fairly modest, Lofaro has said.

New Hyde Park has stayed within the state tax cap in all five years since the law took effect.

It similarly ran up against the cap in 2014 and 2015, but many local municipalities have grappled with especially tight caps this year due to a miniscule increase in the consumer price index, the cost-of-living indicator that determines each village’s allowed levy increase.

The village started its budget process in January with a 22-percent tax increase but whittled it down to the state’s 0.31-percent limit, Lofaro said April 4.

“We’re hopeful and we’ll continue to try to be prudent in our spending,” he said.

The village aims to increase revenue in the future by getting more sponsors for village events, such as Northwell Health’s support for last year’s village street fair, Lofaro said.

It will also have to plan for the impact of the phased-in $15 minimum wage the state Legislature approved in the state budget April 1, he said.

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