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Riverhead Town budget hearing draws minimal feedback

A public hearing on a plan to pierce the state tax cap in Riverhead Town’s 2017 budget would surely generate some feedback, right?


There were no speakers at Tuesday’s public hearing.

The state law puts a cap of 2 percent or the rate of inflation on the town’s increase in the tax levy. It also allows for some exemptions, which in Riverhead’s case put the tax cap at 1.4 percent.

The tentative 2017 budget unveiled Sept. 29 by Supervisor Sean Walter proposed a 4.12 percent increase in the townwide tax levy.

The supervisor said staying within the tax cap limit would allow the town to raise next year’s tax levy by only about $475,000 — which would require cutting the budget by $1.3 million.

Mr. Walter has said that debt payments on the previous administration’s ill-fated landfill reclamation project is the main item driving the town tax levy.

The Town Board has scheduled a Nov. 1 public hearing on the budget, which calls for $54.4 million in townwide spending, a 1.95 percent increase.

State law requires the board to adopt a final budget by Nov. 20. Piercing the cap requires only a 3-2 vote among board members.

The board also pierced the tax cap with its 2016 budget.

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