Walter proposes nearly 5 percent tax levy increase for 2016

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter announced Wednesday his tentative 2016 budget calls for a 5.06 percent tax levy increase.

New York State has a 2 percent tax levy cap in effect, but there are a number of exceptions to allow the levy to be more than 2 percent, such as pension increases and court judgments.  It was not immediately clear if the supervisor’s budget met those exemptions, as Mr. Walter could not be reached Wednesday for more specific comments on the budget.

Mr. Walter has said his tentative budget proposal would not rely on the use of fund balance to offset spending.

The tax levy is the amount of taxes raised, while the tax rate is the levy divided by assessed value and is used to determine individual tax bills.

Mr. Walter’s proposed spending plan carries a 4.08 percent tax rate increase and 1.02 percent spending increase in the three taxing districts paid by all town residents: general fund, highway and street lighting.

Those districts total $54.3 million in spending, according to the budget.

The total town operations for 2016 — including the sewer, water and garbage districts — are projected at $92.7 million, an increase of 1.39 percent over the 2015 budget.

By law, the supervisor must file a tentative budget with the Town Clerk prior to Oct. 1, and present it to the Town Board by Oct. 5.

The Town Board can propose changes to the spending plan and must hold a public hearing before adopting the budget.

By state law, the Town Board must adopt a final spending plan by Nov. 20.

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to discuss the tentative spending plan at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Check back here for more information about the proposed budget as it becomes available.

[email protected]