The Brightwaters Village Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $3 million preliminary capital budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which will pierce the tax cap.
The property tax levy increase is 2.7 percent, as adopted at the April 5 meeting. The tax rate is set at $20.40 per $1,000 assessed value. During the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the tax rate was $28.76.
Brightwaters mayor John Valdini said this year’s tax cap, as established by New York State, was substantially lower than years prior, making it difficult not to exceed the tax levy limit.
“It would’ve been extremely difficult to stay under that cap,” Valdini said. “Once we increased the budget $25,000, which was necessary, we were right at the cap.”
Trustee Patrick Fawcett said that as residents, trustees never want to raise taxes.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with what we have, but we’re also trying to make sure that when we’re no longer in service to the residents that this village is in a much stronger financial position,” Fawcett said.
According to the tentative budget, the majority of the village's income — approximately 62 percent — will come from property taxes. Roughly 15 percent will come from sanitation costs.
This year, Brightwaters residents will need to pay more for village garbage management. The average household can expect to pay $13.67 in the fiscal year. This is the second year of a four-year contract the village has established with an outside company to manage garbage, Valdini said.
In years past, Fawcett said, the village was paying well under what most municipalities pay for garbage fees. Though it’s an increase, the charge was negotiated to a much lower rate, he said.
Village expenses are evenly distributed, mainly going toward various employee salaries and employee benefits, according to the tentative budget.
Major capital projects in this budget include the paving of Pine Drive at $175,000, extending the sidewalk, and adding streetlamps on the northwest corner at $57,060, and the replacement of roughly 1,400 feet of bulkhead on Concourse East.
The roughly $2 million bond project for the Concourse East bulkhead was approved at a trustees meeting earlier this year. Valdini has said previously that the village produces a profit from the Brightwaters Canal, which, through the Canal Fund, is put back into the canal.
Prior to the adoption of the budget, trustee Thomas Zepf said: “We’ve exhausted every effort to keep this budget as tight as possible while still being able to perform the services that people expect.”