Projected revenues down nearly $900K in 2010 town budget

Riverhead Town’s revenue is on pace to fall about $900,000 short of projections in this year’s budget by the end of the year, according to town finance administrator Bill Rothaar.
His estimate is based on revenue the town had actually received through Nov. 5, 2010.
But $800,000 of that shortfall comes from two expected revenues that didn’t even begin to materialize in 2009. One was the sale of the East Lawn building on East Main Street for $450,000. The other was an anticipated settlement for $350,000 in a lawsuit involving alleged illegal excavation on Route 58.
“Other than the $800,000 that we knew wasn’t coming in, our revenues were right on target,” Mr. Rothaar said at last Thursday’s work session.
Minus the $800,000, the revenue was $94,878 short of projections.
The $894,878 total shortfall also assumes that $2.6 million in surpluses will be applied to decrease taxes in 2011. A year ago, the previous Town Board applied $4.7 million from the surplus, or fund balance, to lower taxes after it appeared that the budget would otherwise produce a huge tax rate increase.
One item that Town Board members questioned last week was the projected revenue from Planning Board fees. The 2010 budget estimates $100,000 in fees this year, but through Nov. 5, only $18,411 had been received. Mr. Rothaar is projecting $150,000 by year’s end.
“Planning has a couple of site plans that are expected to be completed,” he said, adding that his projection was based on information from planning department head Rick Hanley.
One area where revenue is expected to be higher than projected is in rental income from wireless phone companies, and the Town Board this year decided to rent space on three town sites for cell towers. The revenue anticipated in the 2010 budget was $100,000, but Mr. Rothaar said $149,500 has been received already and $254,000 more is expected by year’s end.
The Town Board has until Nov. 20 to adopt a final budget and has yet to decide what to do about six full-time and seven part-time positions proposed for elimination in Supervisor Sean Walter’s budget. Thus far in budget discussions, for the most part, councilmembers Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy have argued for restoring positions while councilmembers George Gabrielsen and Jodi Giglio have called for further cuts. Three votes are needed to make changes to the supervisor’s budget, which calls for a 4.3 percent town tax rate increase and a spending decrease.
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