There was virtually no public comment offered at the public hearings on the town board’s 2018 preliminary budget Wednesday at Southold Town Hall.
Robert Dunn of Peconic was the only person to speak at either session. He stepped to the podium during the 4 o’clock hearing to say he thinks the town supervisor and town council salaries are too low.
The town board’s preliminary budget increased expenditures over Supervisor Scott Russell’s tentative budget by just under $74,000 requiring a tax rate hike of 1.77 percent rather than the 1.64 percent increase proposed by Russell.
“I am working with the board to get that number down,” Russell said.
State law allows the board to make changes to the preliminary budget after the mandatory public hearing. The law requires the town board to adopt a final budget by Nov. 20.
The town has budgeted an additional $435,000 to cover expected health insurance cost increases in 2018.
The budget adds a groundskeeper/maintenance worker for preserved lands; half of the new position will be funded by the Community Preservation Fund. It also expands to full-time the currently part-time position of electrical inspector. The additional cost is expected to be fully covered by an increase in inspection fees collected.
The spending plan also allocates $1.3 million for road resurfacing.
It relies on $1.375 million in general fund balance to support appropriations, leaving an estimated $7,062,141 in unappropriated, unreserved general fund balance.