Town property taxes would rise by just over 1 percent in 2024 and the cost of garbage collection would rise slightly under the budget Supervisor Ed Romaine has proposed.
The $335.5 million operating budget would raise the town portion of property taxes by 1.36 percent, meaning property owners would pay $8.033 for each $100 of assessed value, up from $7.925 currently.
Homeowners would also pay $5 more a year for trash collection—$388 in 2024 for a single-family home up from $383 in 2023—under the proposed budget Romaine sent to the town board on Sept. 29.
The budget reflects higher costs of $147.1 million for employee salary and benefits but maintains existing town services and adds seven full-time positions, town finance director Tamara Branson said in a presentation to the Town Board at its meeting on Oct. 3. That would bring the number of town employees to 869, Branson said.
The 1.36 percent increase is less than the state’s 2 percent cap. The 2024 budget and each of the previous 10 budgets Romaine has proposed in his time as supervisor have been within the state cap as well as the town’s spending and debt caps, he said.
This will be Romaine’s last budget as supervisor because he is term-limited and is running for county executive.
Town taxes account for only a small portion of a property owner’s total tax bill—5.72 percent for those living outside villages or 3.78 percent for those living in villages.
“People think the town should do so much more but we have the smallest amount of the taxes coming our way,” Romaine said at the Oct. 3 town board meeting.
The budget would add $1 million to the money the town is holding in reserve to make up for lost revenue after the town landfill closes. That would bring reserves up to just under $27 million at the end of 202, Branson said in her presentation.
The state Public Service Commission in October rejected their request to increase what they can charge consumers to make up for higher costs for the project. The Town of Brookhaven is slated to receive $168 million over 25 years in exchange for allowing Sunrise Wind to run its cable to Smith Point and connect with the electric grid in Holbrook.
Town elected officials would see a 3 percent increase in salary under the proposed budget. Their new salaries would be as follows:
Town Supervisor: $135,527
Town Council: $79,044
Tax Receiver: $116,265
Town Clerk: $116,265
Highway Superintendent: $134,685
The public will have a chance to sound off on the proposed budget at a public hearing on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.