Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst unveiled her proposed 2013 town budget on Tuesday, including a flat tax lexy and no layoffs or service cuts.
Total proposed spending is $82 million, while the portion collected through taxes amount to $57 million, the same as in the 2012 budget.
Residents within special taxing districts may be subject to additional taxes.
Throne-Holst noted that over the last three years, the town workforce shrunk by 18 percent, through retirement incentives, attrition and layoffs, enabling the town to absorb contractual salary increases and growing retirements and benefits costs. Also credited for keeping the budget in check, is new operating efficiences and improved financial procedures.
“Three years ago I said to Southampton Town taxpayers that I believed there was a better way to run town government; that if we reorganized staff and reallocated our resources we could maximize our efficiency and still keep a lid on our property taxes,” Throne-Holst said in a town release. “With this proposed budget I am demonstrating, for the third year in a row, that this is indeed doable.”
The budget also aims to change many capital projects, which are paid for through borrowing, to a pay-as-you-go plan in the operaing budget. The town states that will will reduce borrowing costs and annual debt payments.
"A goal of this budget was to limit our capital spending to $3 million, instead of the usual $8 to $10 million, in order to prepare for the peak in our debt service costs that will occur in 2014,” Throne-Holst said.
The supervisor said the budget projects two years ahead, to anticipate increasing costs and plan accordingly. "Transitioning some of the capital fund items into a pay-as-you-go fund is an example of a new practice that will allow us to better prepare for the peak in debt service, and also makes more sense from an operational perspective,” she said.
In her budget message, Throne-Holst cautions, "This budget is dependent upon the town’s maintaining a strict staffing schedule as well as spending levels. We begin union negotiations shortly, the outcome of which will affect this and
future years’ budgets."
See the supervisor's full budget message in the attached PDF.