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Town Initiatives

Posted on: October 1, 2020

Supervisor Romaine Submits 2021 Tentative Budget

Farmingville, NY - Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine today submitted his 2021 Tentative Budget, which stays within the Tax Cap despite significant revenue loss and spending increases due to the COVID pandemic. All major tax districts within the budget are structurally balanced for the third consecutive year.

“The 2021 Tentative Operating Budget is conservative in its approach to planning for next year in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Because of strong fiscal management, we have been able to stay within the Tax Cap while maintaining all services for our residents,” said Supervisor Romaine. “By making surgical reductions in specific departments, we are able to control spending and protect taxpayers during these difficult economic times while providing critical funding increases for ambulance districts and other services necessary to protect our residents during this continuing pandemic.”

The Town responded to the financial challenges of the COVID pandemic in fiscal year 2020 with swift assessments of revenue loss and corresponding reductions in expenditures. Total Town Revenues across all Tax Districts are projected to be $13.9 million less than the 2020 Adopted Budget, or 4.4%. While $257 million in unrestricted federal CARES Act funding was given to Suffolk County to offset financial impacts of the COVID pandemic, the County has not shared any of these funds with any Towns or Villages.

The 2021 Tentative Operating Budget strives to balance the significant loss of revenue resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic with the cost of maintaining all constituent services. The Town’s share of the Total Brookhaven resident’s tax bill will remain significantly low in 2021. The 2020 Tax Bill kept the Town’s share of total local municipal taxes to 5.67% for the areas outside the Villages of the Town, and 3.80% for the Village areas, based upon the 2019-2020 Property Tax Warrant.

2021 Tentative Operating Budget Summary Highlights

  • Uses No Fund Balance to balance the budget in the six major Tax Districts
  • Complies with the New York State Tax Levy Cap
  • Complies with the Town's Spending, Debt Management Caps and Fund Balance Policies
  • Maintains all constituent services.
  • Provides for a flat Property Tax for the Part Town General Fund Town Wide Highway Fund
  • Keeps Refuse and Recycling costs to the typical single-family home to $1 a day
  • Grows the Landfill Post-Closure Reserve by $1.0 million;

Other key initiatives supported in the 2021 Tentative Operating Budget include a better alignment between the Planning Division and Economic Development to ensure a coordinated effort for the Town’s “Brookhaven is Business” program, and a 3% increase in the contracts with the Town’s Ambulance Companies, who provide emergency services in the Town’s nine Ambulance Districts to ensure a continued qualified response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A reorganization of the Town’s Housing and Human Services Department is supported by the 2021 Tentative Operating Budget to allow for a dedicated focus on the Town’s $20 million U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entitlement grants for the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), HOME, and HOPWA. In addition to the entitlement grants, HUD has awarded an additional $7.7 million in CARES Act funding to the Town for these programs, which cannot be used to support general Town operations. Given the magnitude of these programs and the complexity of compliance regulations, the full attention and support of the management team of the former Human Services and Housing Department is needed for these important HUD programs.

Brookhaven’s $307 million 2021 Tentative Budget, which comprises approximately 5.67% of the average resident’s tax bill, stays within the Tax Cap with an increase of less than two percent. The average increase is $8.93 per household for the five major funds and maintains refuse and recycling costs to $1 per day.

2021 Operating Budget Highlights:

  • General
    • The 2021 Tentative Budget is Structurally Balanced and seeks to use no Fund Balance to balance the budgets in the six major Tax Districts.
    • Complies with the New York State Tax Levy Cap
    • Incorporates a two-percentage point increase for NYS Retirement Contributions based upon NYS OSC estimates.
    • Assumes 10% increase on property and casualty insurance due to market conditions as recommended by insurance broker.
    • Assumes increase in all Health Insurance premiums, though no guidance or estimates have been issued by NYSHIP.
  • Parks
    • Due to COVID-19, Recreation Centers are expected to remain closed until April 2021. The Budget makes the associated adjustments in staffing and revenue.
    • Due to COVID-19, the Brookhaven Aquatic Centers are expected to remain closed until April 2021. The Budget makes the associated adjustments in staffing and revenue.
    • The Budget assumes Centereach Pool will open in 2021, and Holtsville will open as normal.
    • The Budget assumes Summer Camps will resume for the 2021 Summer.
    • The Budget assumes all sports programs will resume, including Senior Softball, Swim Lessons, Basketball, Lacrosse, etc.
    • Seasonal Employees (booth staff) reduced by $200,000. Public Safety (seasonal line) increase by $75,000
    • Budget assumes the resumption of shows at the Amphitheatre next summer and well as the return of the Longwood Fair. (both cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
  • Economic Development
    • The 2021 Tentative Budget eliminates this division. The IDA is expected to absorb most of the duties, responsibilities and employees.
  • Building Department
    • Reinforces existing clerical staff with the transfer of two Senior Office Assistants.
    • Allocates funding to fill Building Inspector vacancy generated by the transfer of an Inspector to Housing.
    • Allocates funding for an additional Building Permits Examiner to expedite review of applications.
  • Housing & Human Services
    • Removes the “Human Services” divisions from the department. Youth transferred to Parks & Rec. All other divisions are to be transferred to the Department of General Services.
    • Removes “Code Enforcement” from Housing and reassigns the employee and associated fine revenues to Investigations (B- Fund).

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