The Southold Town Board last night adopted a $44.07 million preliminary operating budget for 2017 and scheduled a Nov. 9 public hearing on the plan.
After a public hearing that drew little comment, the board last night also adopted a local law authorizing it to pierce the 2017 property tax levy limitation imposed by state law. The tax levy limit is set at .68 percent for next year; the budget calls for an increase of 7.76-percent in the property tax levy.
The preliminary budget approved unanimously last night, with Councilman Robert Ghosio absent due to illness, represents a slight change from the tentative budget presented by Supervisor Scott Russell two weeks ago. Discussions among board members led to a reduction in overall spending from the $44,136,421 proposed by Russell to $44,071,483.
Elected officials will see a 2-percent pay raise in 2017 under the preliminary budget approved last night. The raise puts the total payout for elected official salaries over the $1 million mark for the first time. Elected officials’ salaries have risen 2 percent per year since fiscal year 2013, after remaining stagnant for several years following the onset of the 2008 recession. The 2-percent increase is the same pay raise provided in the town’s collective bargaining agreements with its unions, Russell said.
Next year’s spending will increase 1.29 percent over this year, resulting in a 7.57-percent tax rate increase. The resulting tax per $1,000 of assessed valuation will be $318.40, up $22.40 per thousand over this year.
The budget hearing on Nov. 9 will be held in two sessions, one beginning at 4 p.m., the second at 7 p.m.
Katharine Schroeder contributed reporting.