The 2011-12 budget adopted by the Sagaponack Village Board of Trustees on Monday calls for both a total spending increase, from $556,858 to $563,180, and a tax-rate decrease, from 8.17 cents per $1,000 of assessed income to 6.7 cents.
The trustees were all in agreement on the less-than-controversial budget resolution; it also brought no public comment. But Mayor Donald Louchheim, in a statement released with the budget, highlighted the logic behind the village’s incorporation in 2005 while bemoaning Southampton Town’s reassessment of its properties.
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has in the past conceded that reassessments are conducted too frequently.
“I am pleased to report that in its first five years of operations, Sagaponack Village has been able to maintain a low, stable tax rate and provide homeowners with a more responsive and forward-looking administration than existed prior to its establishment,” Mayor Louchheim wrote. “In each of those years, the total municipal tax bill to residents has been less than if Sagaponack had not been incorporated, and I am confident that we can continue this record.”
The mayor described the cut in the tax rate as an effort to “cushion the impact of Southampton Town’s recent reassessment of village properties, which raised total assessed values in Sagaponack by 20 percent since last year.”
Indeed, the board has styled itself as protecting its population from a less-sensitive town government. In this case, the mayor wrote, it was attempting to help “offset the new reassessment burden imposed on us.”
The budget does not provide for any big new projects or construction, though $30,000 for additional parking and $5,000 to digitize Planning and Building Department records are noteworthy items.
Supervisor Throne-Holst has stated her intention of revisiting the town’s assessment practices, perhaps by implementing reassessment every few years rather than annually. However, she has yet to submit a specific proposal to voters or to the Southampton Town board.