Southold Supervisor Scott Russell’s tentative 2018 budget calls for a 1.64-percent tax rate increase to fund a $1.6 million increase in townwide spending, a 3.64 percent jump over total spending in 2017.
Total town-wide appropriations next year would rise to $45.67 million in 2018.
Proposed new expenditures include: two new police officers, a part-time town attorney to be paid on an hourly basis, subject to a $40,000 annual cap, an administrative liaison for Fishers Island at a $30,000 salary, and expanding to full-time the currently part-time electrical inspector position. The additional expense for the electrical inspector would be offset by additional fees collected for those services, Russell said.
The tentative budget allocates $1.3 million for the highway department to continue its road resurfacing program in 2018.
It also includes $295,000 for work to complete the master plan and $50,000 for a traffic study of the intersection of Main Street and Sound Avenue in Greenport, both of which will be “substantially funded” by grants, the supervisor said.
The supervisor’s budget provides a 2-percent salary increase for all elected officials.
The town’s health insurance premiums increased by $435,000 for 2018, Russell said yesterday.
The county’s shared services committee is exploring whether towns and villages in Suffolk can join with the county for purchasing health insurance, which Russell said would save Southold Town a whopping $855,000 dollars per year.
“If it’s allowed, it’s a lot of work to accomplish and it certainly isn’t going to happen any time in ‘18,” Russell told the town board members gathered for a special meeting yesterday afternoon for his budget presentation. Russell said it would probably take a couple of years — if it’s allowed. County officials have already reached out to Albany to discuss it.
The shared services committees were mandated by the governor to explore how counties, towns, villages, special districts can cut costs by sharing services.
Town board members will now meet with department heads to discuss their budget requests. The board may make changes to the supervisor’s tentative budget and, under state law, must hold a public hearing on a proposed preliminary budget, with any changes made by the board, on or before the Thursday immediately following the general election. This year the budget hearing must be held by Nov. 9.
The board is required by law to adopt a final budget by Nov. 20.