Read His Lips: No New Taxes

    East Hampton Village Mayor, Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. made it clear at the village board’s work session last week that, tentatively at least, there would be no tax increase in his bailiwick this year.
    The tentative budget of almost $18.3 million for 2011-12 calls for a spending increase of less than 1 percent and relies on non-tax revenue increasing by 2 percent.
    “At the outset it was indicated that we did not want to have a tax increase,” he said. “But there are some costs we are encumbered with.”
    The largest of those costs is the $531,750 increase in the contributions to the New York State retirement system for village employees. Mayor Rickenbach explained that the budget was maintained for 2011-12 by controlling personnel costs. “Total salaries will be less in this year’s budget than last year’s,” Mr. Rickenbach said in a budget message distributed last Thursday.
    “The remainder of the budget has been cut by about $400,000 with the majority coming from the police and Department of Public Works, which represents about 50 percent of the budget,” he said.
    “Pretty much every department’s budget will be less than last year,” the mayor said in his budget message, adding that the budget and tax rate in the village have increased by less than 1 percent a year over the past three years “and we have managed to balance our budgets and maintain an adequate fund balance each year.”
    The mayor was vocal about the 2-percent tax cap being considered by Governor Andrew Cuomo. “While I support the general tenor of the tax cap,” he said, “the legislature has to get their act together and come up with some mandate relief.”
    A hearing on the budget will be held in early June.