Town Of Hempstead Announces Major Tax Changes Amid Pandemic

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Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and the Hempstead Town Board adopted a bipartisan 2021 town budget that freezes total town taxes, slashes expenses and controls debt at manageable levels. Clavin’s tax-freeze budget of $453.5 million was presented to the Town Board and the public recently with a goal of preserving jobs.

The 2021 budget was adopted in a bipartisan, unanimous vote by Clavin, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Bruce Blakeman, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Councilman Tom Muscarella and Councilman Chris Carini. Indeed, the 2021 adopted budget freezes the town tax levy at $253.1 million, at the same figure in the 2020 financial document.

“Under this budget, we will accomplish our mission to preserve town programs and services while demonstrating the highest regard for taxpayers,” Clavin said. “It is incumbent on government to lead by example at all times, but especially as families struggle during difficult economic periods like the current Coronavirus pandemic, which was so abrupt and unexpected.

This 2021 spending plan demonstrates fiscal responsibility that respects taxpayers as the town will freeze the total property tax burden borne by residents.”

The supervisor issued a challenge to the town’s commissioners and department heads to cut spending and reduce costs for their agencies, while preserving services. In fact, the 2021 tentative budget slashes expenses by $11.4 million, or a 2.5 percent decrease, as compared to 2020 projections.

In addition to the $253.1 million in property taxes to be levied under the budget, non-property tax revenues include $25 million in mortgage recording revenues, $3.8 million in
per capita state aid and $19.7 million in refuse disposal revenues. Committed to providing superlative services by a talented, effective and lean workforce, Clavin, the town
board and the CSEA Local 880 enacted a severance incentive that resulted in a costs savings of over $6 million in salaries and benefits.

With more than 1,795 full-time employees serving the Town of Hempstead in the 2021 budget, this is a 2 percent, or a 37-person reduction over the 2020 budgeted personnel count. This follows up on Supervisor Clavin’s priority from “Day 1” to ensure that government is operating within its means. On his first day in office, Clavin slashed the supervisor’s staff payroll in half, by nearly $1 million.

The Town of Hempstead continues to control debt to manageable levels. Indeed, debt service, projected at $59 million or 13 percent of the proposed 2021 budget, has decreased by 1 percent, as compared to the 2020 budget. What’s more, the town board worked together to refinance debt, which realized a savings of $750,000 for taxpayers.

“By freezing total town taxes, we are doing our part to ensure that the taxpayers are not on the hook for mandated and unanticipated expenses,” Clavin said. “Instead, we are utilizing smart budgeting practices within our management and operations, incorporating all available revenue sources and remaining fiscally sound.”

—Submitted by the Town of Hempstead

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