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Town of Huntington, NY - News Details

10/9/2019 - Supervisor Lupinacci Releases Tentative Budget for 2020

Huntington – Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci has released the Supervisor’s Tentative Budget for 2020, presented to the Huntington Town Board by Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia at the September 17, 2019 Town Board Meeting, including the new step added the prior year to include public presentations relating to budget estimates.

 

In a letter addressed to his fellow Town Board members, Supervisor Lupinacci outlined his approach to the tentative budget:

 

“As Supervisor and Chief Financial Officer of the Town of Huntington, I am pleased to present my second Tentative Operating and Preliminary Capital Budget for the Town of Huntington for 2020.  I wish to thank the Town Comptroller’s Office, members of my staff, and all Town Department Directors and their Deputies for their input and guidance throughout this step in the budget process.

 

“Pursuant to New York State Town Law Section 106, I present this Tentative Budget for your consideration. I have taken a conservative approach to expenditure allocations, using previous actuals as a baseline for these costs. Particular focus was given to employee salaries, overtime and benefits. In addition, fuel, energy and other utility costs, contractual expenses and debt service payments were analyzed. I have incorporated realistic revenue budgeting, and have not relied upon one shot revenues as a means of balancing the 2020 Tentative Budget.  We continue to provide current levels of service, despite a contractual collective bargaining salary increase for all union employees.

 

“As in prior years, the Town must comply with the New York State Tax Cap Act. This Act limits a local government’s overall growth in the property tax levy to 2 percent over the prior year’s levy, or to the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The Preliminary Budget falls within the State mandated tax cap for 2020. The proposed 2020 tax levy is $125.6 million, a 2.28% increase over the 2019 levy. While the calculated Tax Cap for 2020 is 2%, the Town benefits from a carryover savings from 2019 of $80,000 and a tax base growth factor of $339,000. The carryover savings and growth factor combined represent the additional 0.344% in permissible levy growth over 2%. We have appropriated $725,000 in fund balance from various funds, and fall $79,000 overall below the allowable change in tax levy to meet Tax Cap requirements.

 

“Since assuming office in 2018, I have continuously worked to increase overall governmental transparency.  The live streaming of events has maintained its widespread approval as it truly brings our various proceedings directly to the residents.  In addition to revamping the Town website and increasing the Town’s presence on social media and on government access television channels, I am always open to constructive input to make further refinements.  We are and will remain a model for an open and participatory government.

 

“To save on expenditures, whenever feasible, the Town continues to take advantage of the shared services arrangement with Suffolk County.  Additional cost-savings have been secured by re-enacting our dual-stream recycling program.  Not only has this program saved the Town approximately $1.5 million dollars, but it is better for our environment as well. 

 

“Also noteworthy is the success of this year’s Parking Violations Amnesty Program which recovered approximately $162,000 in delinquent summonses from the prior five years.  This is one component of the plan to alleviate the parking congestion issue in the downtown Huntington area.  For example, we now have a dedicated Parking Enforcement Team, equalized parking rates and improved parking meter signage.  These new measures, combined with the anticipated acquisition of the property at 295 New York Avenue (providing approximately 71 new parking spaces) will establish conditions more conducive to heightened economic activity. 

Regarding our revitalization efforts in Huntington Station, we continue to make very positive and significant progress on numerous fronts. The Northgate Project, which was completed last year, is now leased and a fully functioning element of the community.  The Gateway Project that broke ground last year is now under construction.  Once completed, Gateway will provide studio, one and two bedroom apartments, as well as retail/restaurant space, immediately behind the pedestrian plaza on NYS Route 110, just north of Northridge. Columbia Terrace, a 14 unit veterans-preference affordable housing development on the west side of NYS Route 110 is rapidly approaching its completion.  Another exciting project, Northridge Square, located just south of Northridge Street and on the east side of Route 110, received ZBA approval for its necessary variances.  As a C6 project, it will accommodate retail space (approximately 3000 square feet) and an additional 14 residential units (9 currently are pre-existing). 

 

“Notable progress is being made with respect to the Huntington Station Sewer Feasibility and Design Study – Joint Report (funded by Suffolk County).  This study/report is a comprehensive feasibility, design, and planning initiative that is reviewing the current and future sewer infrastructure to improve the economic, housing and environmental aspects of the Huntington Station Hub area, south of the LIRR trestle to Jericho Turnpike.  We are in receipt of the draft results and await the finished product. 

“Huntington Village will also see a boost to its vibrancy and economic activity via the proposed Huntington Village Hotel, which just received final approvals.  This venue will provide much-needed state of the art accommodations for visitors looking to enjoy the attractions of the greater Huntington area.  Speaking of attractions, this year’s budget will continue to support the arts, along with youth and senior programming.

 

“We have once again had our AAA credit rating reaffirmed by the rating agencies. Our Capital Program continues to grow in 2020, making progress with the James D. Conte Community Center and reconstructing the frontage of the Senior Center.  Also noteworthy are the various park improvements (planned and implemented), such as the construction of a butterfly garden on Burr Road in Commack and enhanced recreational facilities, such as a new turf field at Manor Park. Following the successful opening of the Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo Memorial Spray Park at Elwood Park in the summer of 2018, we anticipate the planning and construction of an additional spray park located at Manor Field Park, adjacent to the Conte Center.  We will also continue the refurbishment of our waterfront in Huntington Harbor with the replacement of the bulkhead at Mill Dam Marina, in addition to much needed deck repair and replacement at various marinas.  Included as well in the 2020 Capital Program are various infrastructure improvements, roadway paving and drainage dollars, traffic signalization funding, as well as various equipment purchases and technology enhancements.

 

“In 2020, I plan to continue focusing on Renewable Energy and ways of implementing sustainable programming at all Town facilities.  Last year, we were designated a Clean Energy Community in recognition of our efforts in the field of sustainability.  We are also vigorously making progress towards achieving Certified AGZA Green Zone status at Heckscher Park, which will signify a leap forward in the realm of environmental protection.  Work on the NY Prize Microgrid continues, as our in-house staff and consultants prepare the NYSERDA Stage 3 application. The Huntington Community Microgrid proposal has been successful in Stages 1 and 2 of the State competition. It envisions a microgrid, or standalone energy system, that will power Town Hall, The Village Green Center, The Huntington YMCA, Huntington Hospital and the Huntington Sewage Treatment Facility. We are optimistic that this project will be successful in the upcoming round(s) of funding, and look forward to eventual construction of the energy grid in the coming years. 

 

“As always, my staff has been advised to make themselves available to you for review of the various expenditures and revenue figures contained herein.  Further, I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss any questions and input you may have.  I look forward to working with you toward the successful adoption of the annual Operating and Capital Budgets for the Town of Huntington for 2020.”

 

A public hearing on the Preliminary Budget for 2020 will be scheduled on or before November 7, as required by New York State Town Law, during which the public can weigh in on the merits of the budget.

 

In the spirit of transparency, Supervisor Lupinacci has included the new step he added last year to the budget process, including presentations to the Town Board and the public on budget estimates. The presentations will be live-streamed on the Town’s website and government access TV channels, Optimum 18 and FIOS 38.

 

The Preliminary Budget for 2020 must be adopted by November 20.

 

The Supervisor’s Tentative Operating and Capital Budget for the Town of Huntington for 2020 can be found on the Town website on the page for the Department of Audit and Control: http://www.huntingtonny.gov/audit-control/

 

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