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Two Percent Tax Cap Addressed At Village Meeting

New Hyde Park Village Attorney John Spellman explains the two percent tax cap.

The public hearing on the two percent tax cap at the Tuesday night was lighter than expected, with no residents wishing to voice any concerns or questions.

The New York State Legislature passed a law that limits the amount of taxes that a local municipality can raise, and the village board members have been  this change in case the village has to go over the two percent tax cap.

“The intent of the law from New York State is to do something that this board is in sympathy with, and that is to try to ease the tax burden on all of the residents,” said village attorney John Spellman.

The problem the village faces is that going into budget season, there are a number of unresolved issues, such as the amount of contributions required by the NYS Retirement System and the health insurance premiums charged by the NYS health insurance plan, Spellman explained.

“The NYS Conference of Mayors, the Village Officials Association of Nassau County and many municipal attorneys and accountants are recommending to the villages they adopt this local law at a precaution that gives them the tool to formulate a responsible budget without having the artificial cap proposed that may or may not be met,” Spellman said.

The local law also protects against uncontrollable calculations in the tax cap, which is based on numbers that are submitted to the state comptroller’s office.

In addition, Spellman said the village’s exemption from the two percent tax cap is actually pursuant to the state law and does not mean the board has to exceed two percent, but it does put the board in the position of evaluating all the variables that go into a budget and acting responsibly to address problems facing the village.

Trustee Lawrence Montreuil said the local law “seems like a prudent action,” to which Mayor Daniel Petruccio said, “This board has always been consistent and we’ve been committed to the lowest tax increase as possible. The word prudent again comes to mind in everything we’ve done up until now.”

Spellman added, “The two percent has an asterisk because the tax cap is either two percent or the CPI (Computer Price Index) increase is less, so quite possibly the cap could be 1.5 percent, so opting out would be opting out under both scenarios,” he said. “The vast majority of villages are adopting this local law in order to give themselves the tools to properly, responsibly manage their government.”

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