Freeport village officials unanimously voted to approve a $72.7 million budget for 2019-20 on Jan. 7 at a public meeting led by Mayor Robert Kennedy and the board of trustees.
The budget is a $25,000 decrease from 2018-19, and includes a 0 percent tax increase for residents. This budget will mark the sixth consecutive year without a tax increase. The new budget will take effect March 1 and run through Feb. 29, 2020.
It is the sixth consecutive year in which the budget is $1.49 million below the New York state tax cap. The tax rate for the average homeowner is $62.29 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.
Some of the budget drivers, according to David Tanner, the independent village budget assessor, include the grow in employee benefits tied to contractually mandated medical and state pension costs.
“This budget strikes the proper balance between preserving village services, while stabilizing the tax burden for a majority of village residents,” Kennedy said in a letter to Freeporters.
Kennedy assured residents he village’s finance are stable and that its budget would support the highest level of services to Freeport in all of its departments — police, sanitation, Public Works, electric and water.
The largest departmental portion of the budget, $23.9 million, will go toward public safety, while $3.8 million has been allocated for sanitation. Capital expenditures include about $4.2 million in roadwork, $250,000 in bulkhead, $465,000 for stormwater protection and $125,000 for license plate readers of which 25 percent of which are to be funded through grants.
This year is also the first year in 25 years the Building Department fees increased. Residential permits are now $150 for the first $1,000 and $22 for each additional $1000, while commercial permits are now $300 for the first $1,000 and $22 for each additional $1,000.