A new annual budget of $1,568,614 was adopted on Monday by board members, which raises taxes an additional $83,066 from last year, an increase of 5.59 percent.
A substantial part of the increase for fiscal year 2012-13 is the 4.43 percent tax levy for fire protection services that will cover costs for the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department and hydrant rentals from the . The remaining 1.16 percent increase is for the general fund.
“I am proud of this budget,” stated Trustee Ronald Lanzilotta. “But I am forced to recommend increases due to uncontrollable mandated costs in pension contributions, hospitalization insurance, union contract raises and fire protection services.”
According to Lanzilotta, the village was able to keep the increase in the general fund below the tax cap, due to the village’s well-maintained, tightly structured budget. But overall, the tax cap was exceeded because of the firehouse construction project.
Several villages, including Cedarhurst, have had to pass resolutions allowing them to override the extremely limited state tax cap of 2 percent, according to Village Clerk Sal Evola. Cedarhurst's law expires in one year, after which, the board can decide whether to renew it or to abide by the 2 percent levy cap.
However, Lanzilotta maintains that Cedarhurst has one of the lowest tax rates in the 64 villages of Nassau County. According to the board, the average resident pays about $700 per year in property taxes.
Trustees credit Mayor Andrew Parise’s dedication to residents and resourcefulness in keeping taxes down.
“Everything you see — the commercial areas, the street-scaping, the parking fields — are all done through grants and private donations,” the mayor said.
Lanzilotta claims that commercial and residential property reassessments have had a major impact on the village, where small tax reduction benefits to individuals and companies are offset by large community losses.
“The commercial reassessments are especially significant,” Evola said. “If a homeowner gets a tax reduction, it’s much less then when a commercial property gets one. But all these refunds reduce the village’s income.”