The town board held its public hearing for the proposed 2013 town budget Thursday night with locals and politicians voicing their displeasure with the property tax increase.
Worked into the $103 million proposed budget is a property tax increase that would run homeowners $46.83 a year if the home has an assessed value of $5,500.
Jesse Safer, candidate for the 8th New York State Assembly District, said the increase does not accurately reflect the realities of Smithtown’s real estate market. Safer, who served as a property tax hearing officer in Nassau County for two years, also said that an increase would deter people from staying in or moving to Smithtown.
“Our goal is to retain ownership of the homes in Smithtown, our goal is to attract the home buyer,” he said. “Increasing property taxes, even if there are some reductions, discourages people from buying homes in the Smithtown area.”
Following the meeting, Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the property tax increase in the proposed budget is based off of an accurate assessment of Smithtown’s property values.
Ernie Krauss of Smithtown also voiced concerns over the property tax increase, stating with other potential increases in taxes from the Suffolk County Police Department and Smithtown Fire Department when added to the property tax increase could total around $100, something he feels not all locals could not afford.
Much of the increase in the 2013 proposed budget is from the $1.8 million due for pensions and hospitalization insurance. The town was able to find a place to save locals money in the Highway Department's snow removal fund. With a surplus in funds from last year, the town was able to reduce snow removal taxes by $10.36 for each homeowner.
The budget needs to be adopted before Nov. 20.