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Hearing on supervisor’s tentative 2019 budget set for Nov. 7

A public hearing on Riverhead Town’s proposed preliminary budget for 2019 has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, during the Town Board meeting.

The preliminary budget is the same as the tentative budget Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith released at the end of September. 

It calls for $59.06 million in spending, which is a 3.9-percent increase, as well as a 3.4-percent increase in the tax levy and a 2.7-percent increase in the tax rate. 

A number of exemptions to the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap allow that levy to rise by more than 2 percent without piercing the cap, officials say. 

The preliminary budget numbers pertain only to the three townwide districts that all Riverhead property owners pay into. Overall town spending, including special districts like water and sewer, is up by 2.1 percent. 

Overall, town taxes usually account for about 30 percent of property tax bills in Riverhead, and are the second largest portion of the tax bill, after school taxes, which usually constitute about 60 percent of the bill. 

By law, the board can make changes to the preliminary budget, but must adopt a final budget by Nov. 20. If no agreement can be reached, the preliminary budget plus any changes previously agreed upon by resolution will automatically become the final budget. 

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