Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray has presented her 2016 tax-freeze budget proposal. Murray’s 2016 town budget freezes taxes to be levied at 2015 levels, marking the fourth time in five years that town taxes have been frozen or reduced. Furthermore, the Murray administration’s financial practices continue to earn among the highest Wall Street credit ratings available, and have received accolades from a respected non-partisan group of independent financial experts. Summarily, the Supervisor’s latest budget proposal institutes cutting edge cost-saving measures while also protecting homeowners from spiraling taxes and providing for the delivery of Hempstead Town’s top-quality programs and services.
“As taxpayers feel the pressure of rising costs on a daily basis, this budget constitutes the fourth time in five years that our government has frozen or reduced total town taxes, demonstrating the highest regard for our homeowners,” Murray said. “Our town is America’s largest town. And, we are working hard to make it an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Aggressive cost-control methods are vital to any budget, and the spending plan for America’s largest township is no exception. In 2015, Hempstead Town introduced an early retirement/severance program that focused on encouraging longer tenured and higher salaried workers to retire, while replacing them with lower salaried employees who require reduced state pension system contributions on the part of the town. Murray’s severance will result in a savings of $1.7 million in town salary and payroll contribution savings in 2015. These savings will increase to $5.5 million in 2016. What’s more, the plan helps decrease pension plan costs by more than $5 million in 2016.
Other cost-controlling measures include a 20 percent reduction in overtime costs by instituting flexible work hour shifts, improving operating efficiencies, and aggressive management oversight.
“Seeing the Light”
Through Hempstead Town’s cutting edge streetlight replacement project, the town will exchange 50,000 conventional fixtures with high efficiency Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps throughout the town. This initiative will result in savings of more than $43 million over a 20-year period. Further, the new fixtures have a useful life of 20 years, eliminating the $250,000 in annual repair/replacement costs associated with conventional light fixtures.
Building for the Future
Stimulating the economy with groundbreaking construction projects, as well as paving the way to a future of planet-friendly renewable energy projects, Hempstead Town remains a leader in the areas of development and technology in our region.
The Hempstead Town Board recently paved the way for the redevelopment of the property surrounding the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, which includes a renovation of the aging arena. The $261 million project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs and stimulate the local economy.
The Energy Park at Point Lookout shines a beacon of light on the present and future of renewable energy while reducing the town’s carbon footprint. In fact, the town facility hosts Long Island’s only self-reliant government office, surrounding by an array of solar, wind, geothermal and hydrogen technology. A landfill-turned-nature preserve at Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve welcomes 110,000 visitors a year and has become a model of ecological responsibility for environmentalists from New York City and the federal government.
Helping Neighbors in Need
Hempstead Town is committed to helping neighbors in need, waiving over $4.2 million in building permit fees for those who continue to rebuilt their homes and their lives three years after the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy.
Led by Murray, the Town of Hempstead is in the midst of combating another kind of community devastation, heroin, by providing increased funding to community based organizations that provide counseling and assistance to those who have fallen prey to drug addiction.
In addition, the Town of Hempstead has helped hundreds of families secure the American dream of homeownership through the Affordable Homes program. Five new homes have been completed in the community of Inwood, with seven more homes under construction in Freeport and Roosevelt. What’s more, the towns Home Improvement Grant Program for Persons with Physical Challenges provides families with funds to make their homes more accessible for a family member with physical challenges. Finally, Hempstead Town is home to the new Malone-Mulhall Recreation Center at Camp ANCHOR, a facility that serves more than 1,500 people with special needs.
Quality Services at the Lowest Cost
Indeed, Hempstead Town provides the lion’s share of local services, excepting primary/secondary education and police protection, while comprising only nine cents for every property tax dollar (about one cent of every tax dollar goes toward town services for residents of incorporated villages). America’s largest township provides for the maintenance of over 1,200 miles of roadway, the operation of over 200 parks, beaches, pools and marinas, the collection of garbage from over 85,000 homes, water services to 121,000 customers, the furnishing of life-enhancing services for over 190,000 senior citizens.
Bottom Line – We’re Freezing Taxes
Murray’s government is holding the line on taxes in the 2016 budget proposal, freezing taxes at 2015 levels. In addition to the $269.6 million in property taxes to be levied, non-property tax revenues include $16 million in mortgage recording receipts, $3.9 million in state per capita aid and $19.4 million in refuse disposal income. The bottom line is that we’re freezing taxes – for the fourth time in five years, Hempstead Town has either frozen or reduced total town taxes.
In crafting the 2016 budget proposal, Murray was inspired by the late 9/11 hero FDNY firefighter Gerry Walsh, who was among those who “answered the call” in the wake of the terrorist attacks at Ground Zero. His life was cut short as a result of a 9-11 related illness, but his memory lives on.
“Gerry often said ‘Walshes never quit,’” Murray said. “Motivated by his indefatigable spirit and fully embracing his dedication to public service, I am proud to present a 2016 budget proposal that serves our residents well, protects homeowners from spiraling taxes and provides for the delivery of top-quality programs and services to neighbors who call Hempstead Town home.”