The Southampton Village Board adopted a 2011-12 budget Tuesday with a 13.8 percent spending increase attributed to large grants the village was awarded and spikes in employee health and retirement costs.
The new spending plan calls for $23.6 million in expenditures and a 6.2 percent tax rate increase. The tax levy will reach $17.8 million, up 11.0 percent. The new tax rate is $16.98 cents per $100 of assessed value, a 6.22 percent increase. Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said a home with a market value of $1 million is assessed at $11,416, with a tax bill of $1,938. The new tax rate amounts to a $113 increase on a $1 million home.
The rise in employee medical and retirement costs accounts for about $1 million of the budget, or more than a third of the spending increase. Funsch said Wednesday that those costs are out of the village's hands.
He explained that the state retirement system is linked to the stock market, so when the economy took a dive it meant villages and towns would have to make up the difference to ensure pensions would be funded. "The crash of '08 is now being felt by all the municipalities," he said. "They're always a year and a half behind."
The budget projects that village payments into the police pension fund will rise 26.3 percent and payments for all other village retirees will rise 37.7 percent. Between both, village taxpayers will pay $420,334 more in 2011-12.
Due to increased insurance premiums, according to Funsch, employee medical costs are rising 27.3 percent, or $586,000.
Other big ticket increases include bumping the village's annual contribution into its capital reserve funds to $1.7 million, up $350,000. Funsch said the increased payments meet the village's contractual obligation with the and the money will be used in the future for fire trucks or other fire apparatus.
Police department spending, not including health and retirements benefits, will reach $5.8 million, up 2.6 percent. The increase is mainly attributed to hiring more radio operators; the village is taking over dispatching of the , bringing in $151,000 under a contract with the Bridgehampton Fire District. The budget also expects that an annual Suffolk County radio operators grant for the village will more than double to $70,000.
The village also will receive $859,000 for traffic calming and pedestrian crossings on North Sea Road and for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements near the on Pine Street through the "Safe Routes to School Program." The village must pay $282,000 to partially match the grants.
Cablevision will give the village $7,000 for a new video camera system in the village hall board room, and the village will pay a $29,000 match.