The proposed 2022 Town of Brookhaven $316.8 million budget includes a $187.1 million tax levy and $201,000 surplus of usage reflecting a total $3.88 increase for village residents and $10.93 for outside village residents.
The budget also complies with the New York State Tax 2 percent levy cap at 1.89 percent for all tax districts and has a net reduction of $19.8 million in capital debt while maintaining major infrastructure projects.
Brookhaven Town officials announced the completion of the tentative operating budget, which stays within the property tax cap and all major tax districts within the budget structurally balanced for the fourth consecutive year.
“Most of what we do in government has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the challenges, we continue to apply our conservative fiscal policies to the 2022 Tentative Operating Budget,” Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine said. “By making sound financial decisions in 2020 and 2021, we set the stage to remain within the tax cap and maintain all the services that our residents have come to expect. It is our responsibility as elected officials to control spending and protect taxpayers during these difficult economic times.”
The town plans to return to full constituent services including restoration of 36 employee positions, bringing the total to 851, down from the year prior’s (2020) 867 augmented by technology. This also includes the restoration of all constituent services including the reopening of recreation and senior centers.
The budget also grows the landfill post-closure reserve by $1.2 million with expectations to close it at $21.2 million. The snow removal budget stabilized at $7.9 million in line with last year.
The 2021 tax bill kept the town’s share of total local municipal taxes to 5.5 percent for the areas outside the villages of the town, and 3.68 percent for the village. According to the town, the average residents’ tax bill, less than 6 percent, will be comprised of town spending, with more than 94 percent of resident taxes being paid to their school district, Suffolk County, and other local taxing jurisdictions.
According to Romaine, both Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services reaffirmed their AAA credit rating, with a stable outlook for the Town of Brookhaven’s municipal bonds in late 2020, leading to a 1.23 percent interest rate on the bond issue.
The budget also includes new bond and reserve public improvement projects totaling $43.7 million, which is $19.8 million less than the $63.5 million in principal bond debt that will be retired at the end of 2022.
New projects funded by bonds and reserves include: $17.2 million for roads, drainage, traffic safety, street lighting, machinery and equipment; $14.4 million in landfill infrastructure improvements and machinery and equipment; $ 6.4 million for park and recreation facilities and equipment; $ 4.2 million for open-space preservation and land acquisition; and $ 1.5 million for all other improvements, including vehicles, facilities, security, and environmental.
Existing grant-funded capital projects represent $52.2 million, of which $39.7 million is the grant’s amount, or 76 percent. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funded projects represent $25.2 million across 45 projects.
“It has been 18 months since New York State mandated a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I would like to recognize our commissioners and town staff for their continued efforts during these difficult times, and thank them for their commitment to the missions of their departments and the personal risks many have taken to serve their constituents and protect the public,” Romaine said. “This is a great budget.”