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Update: Cedarhurst Raises Taxes by 5.9 Percent

Village officials attribute increase to mandated expenses.

This story was updated on Monday night after the Cedarhurst Board of Trustee's monthly meeting.

The has approved a $6,082,539 budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year that raises taxes by 5.9 percent, an increase necessitated by government mandated expenses, members of the board of trustees said on Monday.

Expenses such as benefits for full-time village employees are primarily what continues to drive up the budget, trustees said. At $1,568,200, employee benefits are the single largest expense in the 2011-12 budget. The revenue that comes in from this latest increase totals about $82,000 and will pay for about half of the mandated expenses.

“Our pension and health insurance [costs] are going up over $150,000, and we’ve got contractual raises," Cedarhurst Treasurer Sal Evola said. "About 10 years ago, the village’s annual contribution for the pension system was $103,000, but this year it will be $219,000. Health insurance is another uncontrolled increase in our general budget. The increase is $85,000.”

Some of these benefits cover not only active employees, but retired employees as well.

“If we could do the budget without raising taxes, we would,” Cedarhurst Mayor Andrew Parise said.

The general tenor at a budget session last Wednesday was a feeling of a job well done by the board in their effort to keep village standards high, while keeping tax burdens for residents fairly low.

“We’ve probably got the best services of any village around, and we’ve got one of the lowest tax rates in the county,” Trustee Ari Brown said.  

Fire protection service, which is contracted with the , accounts for about 10 percent of the budget, at a cost of more than a half a million dollars this year. Another huge village expense is sewer plant maintenance, which is just under a million dollars.

Board members claimed that they are able to keep taxes from skyrocketing because a sizeable part of village revenue comes from other sources, such as court fines, parking meters, licenses, permits and rental income.

“Only one quarter of our revenue comes from tax dollars, which you probably don’t see in most places," Deputy Mayor Benjamin Weinstock said. "Most municipalities raise an overwhelming portion of their budget from tax revenue.”

“Some of our money comes from government grants," he said. "There are different programs available that cover some of the cost of road improvements, sidewalk improvements and municipal beautification. The mayor is very good at finding all these programs and getting money into the village, so we don’t have to tax our residents.”

Brown added, “Our maintenance is far superior to other areas.”

Even the popular concert series in the park is funded by private donations, which cover the entertainment, equipment and cleanup, village officials said.

Another challenge to keeping taxes down is Cedarhurst’s population increase over the years, board members said, which is now at 6,592 residents, up from the 2000 total of 6,164, according to the .

“There are more people in the village that require service," Weinstock said. "There are more people that need ambulances, park services, recreation and sewage usage.”

All in all, board members said they feel that residents are pleased with their fiscal responsibility.

“We had our tax grievance night in February," Brown said, "and we had a crowd of zero, which we have every year.”

Frank Koester May 02, 2011 at 06:17 PM
And this is why I am MOVING OFF Long Island this summer. How about the people pose a 24% REDUCTION in taxes and just dont pay!!
bill May 02, 2011 at 08:41 PM
I think it is so sad that all they know how to do is raise taxes-more and more. Don't they know people are having a very hard times as it is. How are the seniors in Cedarhurst taking this. They are on a fixed income, and trying so hard to just make ends meet, and keep food on the table. Do they know gas is way up, food is way up, the LIRR is way up, drugs that keep people alive are way up. My dream was to own a nice house on long island, and raise my family, but now it has gotten to the point were if i want the american dream, its not here, or any part of New York. People in Cedarhurst, I feel for you, and can not beleive you just take this increase and not feel and pain, or sorrow for maybe the guy living next door to you, or down the street from you, that just don't have the money. Well GOOD LUCK cedarhurst, for its just another place were i could never live and raise my family.
Lynn Feldman May 03, 2011 at 02:46 PM
It is truely a sad day that they need to raise taxes at this time as we are all trying to make ends meet..If youspent $40 a week a year ago you are now spending $60..and the price of gas keeps going up. What a terrible position to put us seniors in. I guess if we want to stay in our homes we will just have to give something up! thanks Mayor Parise and the board of trustees you need to rethink the pensions that people get and think about the citizens of your town!
Bojames May 03, 2011 at 10:43 PM
...and you get to pay the taxes of all the people who have "Clergy"exemptions on their PRIVATE homes. Ask the County Assessor to send you a list of the dozens of houses getting THOUSANDS of dollars off school and Town taxess way beyond the $1500 they would get if they lived in Suffolk under real property Law 460. It is an outrage.
Bojames May 03, 2011 at 10:43 PM
See above RE: Real property law 460.

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