This week the Brookhaven Town Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2012 proposed budget, which has a zero percent property tax increase. It is the first budget to be unanimously adopted since the 2004 vote to adopt the 2005 budget.
The budget also introduces Supervisor Mark Lesko’s new job creation program, Jumpstart Brookhaven, which will reduce building and planning fees for large revitalization projects already approved by the town to ensure they get shovels in the ground in 2012, according to the town.
“I am proud that we are freezing taxes for the third straight year even with the challenges of rising fixed costs and plummeting revenues,” Lesko said in a statement. “These dire economic times require us to maintain a conservative fiscal discipline. We made some difficult choices, but we were able to meet our goal of not burdening our residents with additional taxes.”
Several amendments were introduced that did not increase spending in the budget. The $2.7 million in spending cuts were accomplished through:
- Defunding nearly all vacant positions.
- Elimination of three management positions.
- An additional week of lag payroll for management making over $75,000 and elected officials in 2012.
- Across the board cut in part-time employee costs, as well as reductions in seasonal employee costs.
- 22% reduction in funding for the Supervisor’s office from 2010, or $210,000.
- 50% reduction in salaries for some appointed board members and bingo inspectors.
- Cuts to the Supervisor’s and Town Council’s public information budgets.
- Reduction in supplemental funding to Youth Agencies.
- Reduction in part-time salaries in the Department of Public Safety.
According to the town, the board was able to find off-sets through reduction in salaries of vacant management positions to restore partial funding to three Town-wide Youth agencies, the BACAC Youth Court, Response of Suffolk, and Lifeline Mediation. The town will advance six months of State and County funding and 12 months of Town funding to all organizations in order to give them time to find alternate sources of funding.