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Gerth proposes $13.3 million preliminary budget

COURTESY ILLUSTRATION

COURTESY ILLUSTRATION

Supervisor Gary Gerth shared his initial budget proposal with the Town Board Tuesday, explaining that it will undergo changes before it’s adopted this fall. He introduced a budget of $13.296 million, of which $10.3 million would be raised from taxes, if no changes are made.

That represents a whopping 16.9 percent increase from this year’s budget, but neither he nor his colleagues expect it will remain that high after meeting with department chiefs and committees and working line-by-line to find places to cut.

Public meetings begin Friday at 9 a.m. The board expects to devote a full day to the budget.

The tentative meeting schedule calls for continuing sessions on Tuesday, October 9, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.; Thursday, October 11, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Friday, October 12, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.; and Monday, October 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Further sessions will be scheduled if needed.

Typically, the major spending needs for the Highway and Public Works Department and Police Department require the most time to come to a consensus.

It’s already been revealed that the Deer & Tick Committee and Community Housing Board will be seeking hefty increases — the former to increase the deer cull, and the latter to boost a serious effort to create affordable rental apartments.

Speaking about town employee compensation, Mr. Gerth said he won’t “balance the budget on the backs of town workers.”

He noted that the staff is the lowest paid of municipalities on Long Island, yet has more responsibilities than workers in other places because the staff is so small. The average raise in recent years has been 2 percent. For 2019, Mr. Gerth indicated he’s hoping to raise that to 3 percent.

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