Fire district budget hearings Tuesday; all under 2 percent

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Fire district headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Fire district headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.

Local fire districts are all having public hearings on their proposed 2014 budgets tonight, and all proposed budgets come in under the state mandated two-percent tax levy increase.

Fire districts are the taxing entity that funds the local fire departments, which are mostly run by volunteers but receive taxes for things such as equipment, facilities and some paid employees.

Below is a breakdown of the budget proposals and public hearing times and locations.

• Riverhead

The proposed 2015 budget called for a $4.501 million tax levy, up 1.56 percent over the 2014 levy of $4.432 million. The proposed budget uses $250,000 in fund balance, $29,117 in payments in lieu of taxes and $106,883 in bond reduction reserve money to offset tax increases.

Tax rates, which are determined by the town, were not yet available. The district covers parts of three different towns, Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven.

The public hearing on the budget will take place at 7 p.m. at Riverhead fire headquarters on 540 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead.

• Wading River

The proposed 2015 budget calls for $2.107 million in taxes, up 1.8 percent from the 2014 total of $2.07 million. Overall spending is proposed at $2.443 million,  up 5.5 percent over 2014, but the proposed budget uses $55,750 in estimated revenues and $80,000 in appropriated fund balance to reduce the amount to be paid in taxes. The tax levy is split between Brookhaven Town and Riverhead Town, with the portion in Brookhaven to go down from 2014, and the Riverhead portion, which is about 60 percent of the total, proposed to rise by 5.9 percent in Riverhead, according to district figures.

The fire district has no role in the apportionment of the tax levy between towns, according to Riverhead Town Assessor Laverne Tennenburg. That is done by the county and based on each town’s equalization rate, which is a state formula that attempts to determine at what percentage of market value  each town assesses property for taxing purposes. Riverhead’s equalization rate decreased this year, while Brookhaven’s stayed the same, meaning a greater portion of the taxes shifted to the Riverhead side, she said.

The public hearing is at 7 p.m. at the fire headquarters on 1503 North Country Road in Wading River.

• Jamesport

The proposed 2014 budget is $842,810, which is up by 1.5 percent from the 2013 budget of $830,318. Of that amount, $766,833 will be paid through taxes, which is a 1.56 percent increase.

The public hearing is at 7:30 p.m. at the firehouse on 25 Manor Lane in Jamesport.

• Flanders

The proposed 2015 budget calls for $691,500 in spending, up one percent, with estimated revenues of $130,000 bringing the amount to be raised from taxes down to $561,500, which is a 1.3 percent increase.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the firehouse on19 Firehouse Lane in Flanders.

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