$ 500.3 million Hempstead budget cuts taxes and uses reserves to maintain services

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Hempstead City Council members approved a $ 500.3 million budget for next year, cutting taxes and borrowing from reserves to balance the city’s budget and maintain services.

City council unanimously approved the budget on Wednesday evening, which reduced the city’s tax levy by $ 2.5 million from $ 253.1 million to $ 250.6 million, officials said. from the city. The budget includes almost $ 50 million in additional spending compared to 2021.

The average homeowner is expected to see their annual municipal property taxes cut by $ 10, Hempstead City Comptroller John Mastromarino said. The tax bill does not take into account the contributions and fees of special districts.

“A year after working with a bipartisan city council to freeze municipal taxes in 2021, I am proud to present a municipal budget for 2022 that cuts taxes, while preserving programs and services for residents during a time when they will. need it most, ”Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said in a statement. “In the midst of a global pandemic, we are offering tax breaks, providing top-notch services and improving the quality of life for residents of America’s largest township.”

The budget includes $ 20.5 million in reserves used to balance the budget for the second year in a row. Mastromarino said the city has enough reserves to use for the budget instead of raising taxes, which has led to its bond’s rating being upgraded by two rating agencies.

Hempstead received $ 133 million in federal COVID-19 CARES funding for pandemic-related expenses last year, based on its population of nearly 800,000.

City council members voted to use $ 70.1 million in salary expenses for workers in sanitation, public security and other departments who they said were essential workers during the pandemic. City officials said they were told the funding was properly used, but the city’s use of CARE funding is still under investigation in a Treasury audit American.

“No CARES funding was used in this budget and we never budgeted for CARES money,” Mastromarino said. “Treasury directives say we can use it to offset public health and public safety payrolls. minimize the impact of our taxes. “

Jason Abelove, the Democratic candidate for supervisor, criticized the city for using the funding for salary expenses rather than for small businesses and first responders during the pandemic.

“They got out of a budgetary mess,” Abelove said. “They didn’t help the people they were supposed to help.”

City officials said they cut taxes this year by cutting $ 2.5 million over the past two years by cutting vacant positions in the supervisors’ budget. City officials said the city’s sales tax and mortgage registration tax were also higher than expected.

The budget also represents nearly $ 27 million in federal emergency rent assistance that the city has budgeted as revenue and planned spending to be allocated this year.


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