The New Hyde Park Village Board held their third budget workshop session following their regularly scheduled public session on March 5 at the village hall, tackling half of the village expenses including parks & recreation and road construction.
“We’re still working through the expenses and again it’s a process and it’s evolving,” deputy mayor Robert Lofaro said, noting the budget would be available to the public later in March. The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.
As of the March 5 session, the total appropriations for the 2013-14 budget was $5,896,626.14, with a tax levy of $4,070,090.59, a .03 increase. The levy amount would be 2.11 percent, which is below the state-imposed tax cap. However, the village board passed a resolution allowing itself to exceed the cap if it deems necessary.
“Which is $50?” Lofaro quipped referring to the amount needed to get to a flat tax increase.
“We really haven’t done any cap for budgeting,” Lofaro went on to say, “and we talk about a department of public works facility that needs a replacement and there’s not a dollar in there to fund it and even borrowing it, we don’t have any money for debt service. We’ve done a good job over the years cutting out a lot of money but we’ve got to the point now where we can’t cut too far.”
During the budget work session there was speculation on doing a capital project through the floating of a bond.
“Is there a capital fund that can be set up that has a different tax treatment than the general fund?” Lofaro asked.
For tax certiorari settlements, the line totaled $134,976, adding $10,000 for small claims. Typically the village pays out between $6,000 to $9,000 per year. The village is also still paying the MTA Payroll Tax which is $7,800 in the budget for 2013-14.
With regard to personnel, superintendent of public works Tom Gannon expressed concerns about managing employees with regards to vacation, saying that “guys... are told that they have to take off. One one hand they’re accumulating too much time and told they have to take off, then when they take off I need to find a replacement.”
It was also estimated that it would take one full-time employee to maintain the new Jericho Turnpike streetscapings and plantings all summer. There was also a question on creating line for water bill on Jericho Project to keep plantings alive.
Personnel services/ salaries will increase from $43,275 to $44,918 and it was noted that the new wage for an entry level employee will be $28,500. The contract with village employees is set to expire on May 31, 2014.
Other line items include $3,000 on tires for equipment. Gannon stated that with the sanitation and heavy duty equipment tires “we’re getting away from tubes, they’re going to be tubeless so every time I order a tire, I need to order a rim.”
The village had also budgeted $39,800 for road construction but changed it to $24,927.78 at a prior meeting. There was a proposed $10,000 line for pothole repair and there was $5,2012 spent so far this fiscal year.
“We’re stretching it more because the repairs,” Gannon said. “Years ago we would go get two or three tons of hot patch, slap it in it; we’re cutting this year, I told them I don’t want any repairs unless we cut it up, let’s try to get a patch to last a couple years so it’s not redundant on the same hole.”
The budget also includes maintenance for additional streetlights on Jericho Turnpike, with it being noted that several were lost on Jericho Turnpike including one in front of Umberto’s due to a delivery truck.
Under parks & recreation, the repair of the multi-purpose courts in Memorial Park was discussed. Trustee Donald Barbieri suggested bonding and placing a $10,000 line every year asking “is that a better way to address the problem at that low interest rate than trying to do it otherwise? Or do you guys think you have the money in the budget that you can find from money that was reserved from prior years?”
Lofaro said that about $80,000 was used for the multi-purpose court and that even though being in a low-interest rate environment, the village was not necessarily going to get that low a rate and “you’re not dealing with roads. Someone’s going to lend you money for a basketball court, you’re not going to get the rate that you would for a road that lasts 30 years; they do look at what it’s funding and what is financeable.”
Also among the requests was additional field clay for the little league to prevent flooding by the dugouts.
Regarding revenue and a theater grant, Barbieri said the paperwork was completed and “it’s in the governor’s office now; it moves through different places.”
He estimated that the $100,000 grant would take an additional three to four months.
The village is also pursuing another grant for drainage on South 14th Street and Sixth Avenue with Gannon said the village was “waiting to hear back” from the state, adding that it was his belief that they may be waiting for an updated price.
“The problem was the drainage project itself was not going to cost $150,000,” Barbieri said. “They wanted to know what else we were going to use the balance of the money to do.”
The village had originally applied for the areas of South 14th Street and Sixth Avenue, the Third Avenue parking lot and the parking lot across from village hall.
The board also continued to discuss ways of gleaning more money from cultural programs, the street fair and parking vouchers.
“I think we’re at point now where we really have to start thinking about how to get income from those things,” Lofaro said, referring to sponsorships. “If we spent 50 cents a voucher, if we can get a sponsor, for 30 cents a voucher they get their name on it, you know what I mean? Or maybe they pay for the printing of the vouchers and the offset is their name gets put on it.”
It was decided that Lofaro would pursue sponsorships for the vouchers, Barbieri would ask for ideas from the cultural commission and Montreuil would handle sponsorships for the village street fair.