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Riverhead Town proposes piercing tax levy cap in tentative $63.3 million budget for 2023

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar’s tentative 2023 budget calls for increases in spending, tax levy and tax rate, while piercing the state’s 2% tax levy cap.

Ms. Aguiar said the money the town proposes in excess of the tax cap will go toward increases to the police department.

“With an emphasis on public safety, the 2023 tentative budget proposed the addition of seven police officers to the Riverhead police force and five public safety dispatchers,” Ms. Aguiar said in her budget message released Friday.

The tentative budget increases spending in the general fund, highway and street lighting district by 4.9% to $63.3 million. The same categories went up 3.31% for the tax levy and 3% for tax rate. 

All town taxpayers pay into those three districts. 

The town spending in all of the districts combined is $103.2 million, up from about $100 million, or 3%, from the current rate. 

“It is important to note that the expansion of the police and public safety departments represent over 122% of this tax increase,” the supervisor said. She also pointed out that the budget increases the base salary of all employees by 5%.

“The budget proposes a modest annual increase to the average home of approximately $85.85 (per $50,000 of assessed value) or 3% across the Town’s three major funds,” the supervisor said. 

The supervisor said that commodities, supplies and maintenance costs have increased by over 30% in some areas over the past year.

Ms. Aguiar said the town “has maintained its high level of services our residents expect and deserve. No services were eliminated and funding has been included to continue providing leaf pickup for our residents.”

The supervisor’s tentative budget is required by state law to be filed by the end of September.

From there, the full board can make changes and must schedule a public hearing. A final budget must be adopted by the board by Nov. 20, or else the last changes agreed upon take effect.

See the full tentative budget below: