After much back and forth over the past weeks, the Town of North Hempstead board voted unanimously to pass the preliminary budget at a special meeting on Novemeber 7, just barely keeping with the tradition of having it passed by Election Day.
The town meeting on the preliminary budget was held November 3. After a hostile, contentous beginning, the board moved to recess to address some descrepencies in the budget book that was distributed for the meeting. When the board reconvened, three typos had been found where some numbers had been transposed. These typos required amendments in order to be corrected, so the board moved to hold the special meeting on November 7.
Timeline for Town of North Hempstead Budget
Released on Sept. 28, the tentative budget serves as a blueprint for the trustees to study and make suggested amendments at various hearings before voting on a final budget on Nov. 3.
On Oct. 11, the trustees received the Supervisor’s revised tentative budget with one major amendment: a reduction in what she claimed was an excessively large fund balance. DeSena’s proposed tax cut, believed to be the biggest tax cut in the history of the Town of North Hempstead, came as a result of her desire to provide millions of dollars of tax relief to Town residents after the North Hempstead Town Board had been overtaxing for years and overfunding reserves by over triple what is mandated by Town policy. The Town enacted a policy in 2011 that required the Town to maintain a reserve equal to no less than 10% of the current General Fund Budget. Upon further review during the budget process, when the Town closed its books for 2020 the general fund reserves should have been around $7 million, but it had actually grown to more than $18 million, far more than what was required by the Town’s policy.
On Oct. 20, by a 4-3 vote, the Town of North Hempstead Town Board voted against the amendment by Supervisor Jennifer DeSena that would have cut the town portion of a property tax bill by 11 percent. It was the first public hearing on her tentative 2023 budget. Councilwoman Lurvey’s proposed amendments to the Supervisor’s budget delivered a five percent tax reduction, rather than the double-digit tax cut the Supervisor offered.
— Additional reporting by Frank Rizzo