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
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: