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Riverhead Town Board sets budget hearing for Nov. 4

A public hearing on Riverhead Town’s preliminary 2021 budget will be held on Nov. 4, the day after Election Day, at 2:05 p.m. in Town Hall.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be conducted virtually, with the public able to comment via Zoom or phone. 

The preliminary budget is the same as the tentative budget produced by Supervisor Yvette Aquiar on Sept. 30. 

It called for $59,070,100 in spending among the three townwide districts (general, highway, street lighting).

That represented a 1.14% spending reduction, but a townwide tax levy increase of 2.6% and a townwide tax rate increase of 3.45% from $56.068 per $1,000 of assessed value to $58 per $1,000.

That difference amounts to $96.60 extra per year for property with an assessed value of $50,000, which amounts to about $406,000 in market value.

Ms. Aguiar said the budget also is under the state’s 2% tax levy cap, despite the levy being over 2%.

This is because one of the exemptions allowed under the cap is growth in assessed value, according to town finance administrator Bill Rothaar.

Among all taxes in the town beyond the three townwide districts — including special districts — overall town spending of $99.5 million spending decreased from $100.3 million.

Ms. Aguiar said the town had a $1.9 million revenue shortfall, and was able to cut $684,200 in spending. 

This was done by holding on new hires and promotions, limiting large capital asset purchases and reducing spending by 20% within each department.

The final budget must be adopted by Nov. 23.