The Village of New Hyde Park Board of Trustees presented and approved a village budget of $6,196,372.90 for the 2017-18 fiscal year at a recent board meeting, representing an increase of $70,576.04 over last year’s budget of $6,125,796.86.
Announced on Tuesday, April 4, the budget projects a year to year 1.57 percent tax levy increase of $67,212.04, well within the state 2 percent tax cap guideline. The budget was unanimously approved by a three-member quorum of the board, including New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil, Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino and Richard Pallisco. Montreuil said Trustees Donald Barbieri and Richard Coppola Jr. were absent due to illness.
“I believe that we’re still planning to run a surplus this year,” Montreuil said before the board voted on the budget.
The board initially planned to hear the presentation of the budget from Village Clerk/Treasurer Cathryn Hillman, with approval of the budget to follow at the next board meeting.
But following Hillman’s presentation, Montreuil said he anticipated no substantive changes in the budget, and suggested the board vote on it. The budget projects a tax rate of $21.89 per $100 of assessed valuation, a 2.1 percent increase over last year’s tax rate. The average household in the village, with an assessed valuation of $5,400 will pay an additional $24.30 in village tax. The total village assessment roll as of April 1 decreased by 92,312, representing a decrease in tax revenue of $20,207.10.
“This gives a lower basis just to start with,” Squicciarino said, attributing the decrease to appeals to lower property taxes, tax certiorari cases, approved by the county and passed on to the village.
“All these commercial building owners put in these tax claims,” Montreuil said after the meeting. “A number of them came in this year.”
Other revenue projected in the budget is $1,906,181, representing $3,364 increase from last year’s budget. Medical, dental and vision coverage expenses for village employees are projected to be $823,294.42, a decrease of $1,883.58 from last year. Some village employees must now pay between five percent and 20 percent of the cost of their medical, dental and vision coverage expenses.
State retirement expenses are projected to increase by $7,540 year to year, to a total of $287,583. Workers compensation expenses are projected to rise by $4,490.49 from last year to $168,490.49.
In other developments:
• The board voted unanimously to hire the firm of Phillips Preiss and Grygel at a cost not to exceed $6,000 as urban planning consultants on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposed Third Rail Project. Montreuil said the village needs expert advice on the aesthetics of overpasses and sound walls that will result from the elimination of Long Island Rail Road grade crossings at Covert Avenue, 12th Street and New Hyde Park Road as part of that project. He said the facades the LIRR proposed for the overpasses “were not very interesting at all” and he hoped the urban planning firm could offer the board a “broader choice of facades.” In response to a question from a resident about the imbalanced sound walls proposed in the LIRR plans at Covert, a four-foot wall on the north side of the tracks and an eight-foot wall on the south side, Montreuil said village representatives were told that symmetrical walls would produce a “bouncing effect” of the sound from passing trains.
• Pallisco said he recently attended a gathering at Leonard’s in Great Neck where he said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was apparently soliciting bids from contractors on the proposed Third Rail Project. “The MTA is working full-speed ahead on the project,” Montreuil said, “The only thing that can stop it is funding.” After the meeting, Montreuil said the MTA is expected to release the final version of its environmental impact study on the project this month or next month.
• Squicciarino reported the village board has issued a request for proposals to replant the center median on Jericho Turnpike to replace plants that have died.
• Village Superintendent of Public Works Tom Gannon said his department is scanning areas to plant new trees in the village and seeking requests from residents who would want trees planted in front of their homes. He noted that many residents are reluctant to have new trees planted because of recent storms.
• The village Memorial Day Parade is slated for May 27, with the route from the ceremony at Village Hall yet to be determined, via either New Hyde Park Road or Central Avenue, aka Purple Heart Way to the closing ceremony at Memorial Park.