Taxes in the Village of Lynbrook are proposed to rise 3.35 percent after the mayor and board of trustees met on March 27 to review the proposed 2023-24 budget.
The 112th village budget takes into account inflation and a possible recession. It is uncertain whether the tax increase will pierce the state tax cap. According to Mayor Alan Beach, that will be determined when the budget is finalized.
This spending plan, and the one approved last year, were heavily influenced by inflation. “Lynbrook’s five-year average tax rate increase has been a modest 2.1 percent, which has matched the inflation rate for the region,” Beach said. “The region’s (Consumer Price Index) for 2022 is 6.2 percent, and inflation, although a challenge, is fortunately on the decline.”
According to Budget Officer John Giordano, the proposed tax increase will “sustain services, despite the region’s record high 6.4 percent inflation rate in 2022.” The Lynbrook school district represents 60 percent of the total taxes. Village taxes are about 32 percent, and general taxes are 8 percent.
The budget was broken down into several categories, with police protection getting the lion’s share of spending, 46 percent, while 26 percent would go to the Highway Department, 6 percent to the Fire Department, 5 percent to recreation and 4 percent to the library. The remaining money, about 10 percent, will go to courts, the Building Department, and the village government and administration.
The proposed budget totals $47.6 million, an increase of about $2 million over the current year. “For this budget, revenues were supplemented by surplus revenues,” Giordano said. “We conservatively project a June 1, 2023, unappropriated fund balance surplus reserve of 17.1 percent, $8.2 million, to improve bond ratings, lower debt costs, stabilize taxes, and reduce reliance on short term borrowings.”
The reserve fund for the proposed budget is about $700,000 less than this year’s fund, but it will still provide much-needed financial support for the village. “Reserve funds are established for stabilizing future tax rate increases,” Beach said. In this fund, about $375,000 in building permit fees will go toward the redevelopment of 47 Broadway, anywhere from $100,000 to $1.2 million will go towards FEMA reimbursement of Covid expenses, and $315,000 will go to the workers’ compensation insurance safety dividend. The revenue fund also includes park fees, court fines, and parking fees returning to pre-Covid levels.
“Inflation can have a negative impact on future labor costs and other expenses over the short and long term,” Giordano said. “Accordingly, $500,000 is in the contingency account to support any unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls.”
Police retirement premiums increased by $327,000 and fuel and utility expenses were adjusted to account in rising energy costs.
In the budget proposal plan, Giordano provided a “village highlights” list where he noted that the Lynbrook Village scored an A-plus from the Long Island Press Club for complying with local government transparency laws, completed road improvement projects and hockey rink resurfacing in 2022. The highlights point out the village’s adoption of the “internet outage plane,” which addresses a long-term internet outage.
“2023-24 may be a pivotal year in setting the direction of the economy this decade,” Giordano said. “Your board and I remain sensitive to certain economic conditions and will intercede budgetarily as necessary in the best interest of our village taxpayers.”
The Board of Trustees will finalize the budget over the coming weeks and vote on completed budget by May 1.