Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen announced a tentative 2020 budget, which will include a 1.5 percent tax cut. The tentative 2020 budget proposal reduces the number of the town’s full-time employees by approximately 50 positions through natural attrition and cuts current part-time and seasonal payroll by 5 percent. The tentative budget reflects the leanest staffing levels the town has seen in over two decades.
“By tightly controlling spending over the past year and pushing back on the Republican majority’s commissioners attempts to inflate the budget, this administration has delivered a sensible tax-cut proposal without negatively affecting services,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen.
Gillen will hold community budget meetings in every council district in order to listen to taxpayers and answer questions from the public before a final budget vote takes place.
The Five Towns community budget meeting will take place on Sunday, October 6, 1:30 p.m., at Lawrence High School, 2 Reilly Road in Cedarhurst.
Gillen’s proposed $433 million budget is in line with last year’s adopted 2019 budget, and absorbs a 2 percent increase in healthcare costs and 3.25 percent increases to cover contractually obligated step increases for eligible employees.
The budget also calls for restoring at least $4 million in town reserves and budgeting approximately $3.6 million for contractually obligated employee separation pay instead of relying on borrowing. Furthermore, the supervisor’s budget cuts $800,000 from workers compensation.
Among the additional spending that the supervisor denied is $3 million for 30 new full-time employees in the town’s building department, and over $5 million in additional funding for part-time and seasonal employees in the parks department.
“This budget balances the Republican majority’s handpicked commissioner’s requests for $35 million in additional spending with the public’s need for real tax relief,” said Gillen. “The holdover commissioner’s department submissions would have grossly inflated the town’s budget, increasing spending by approximately 8 percent after being directed by my office to hold the line on expenses, which demonstrates that they are either incompetent or deliberately sabotaging the budget process.”
The town board will hold budget hearings at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on October 16 and vote to finalize the budget following the 7 p.m. hearing.