Restricts new spending, reduces town debt and continues property tax relief
Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the Town Board approved the Town Budget for 2024, which continues to sustain the $1.3 million property tax cut approved by the Town Board for 2018. Despite the national economy experiencing the highest inflation rate in 40 years, the Town Board successfully implemented a plan that freezes property taxes for the sixth consecutive year – once again possible thanks to the spending restraints, efficiencies and debt reduction initiatives put in place by the Town Board. Although the town once faced a $44 million deficit, approximately $88 million are now in reserves as a result of strong financial management practices.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “Our Town Board continues to keep its promises to ensure fiscal stability while delivering the highest level of services to our residents. This 2024 Budget again freezes property taxes and is steadfast in its commitment to protecting taxpayers while continuing initiatives that enhance the suburban quality of life in our town. From investing in roadways, parks, pools, beaches and the environment to combatting zombie homes and blights, the Town Board is making our community a better place.”
Since 2017, the Saladino administration has received eight credit rating upgrades from independent globally-recognized financial firms. In awarding these increases, Moody’s Investor Service and Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings reported ‘continued improvements to the town’s financial position’ while also crediting the Town Board for improved budget and cost cutting, stating that ‘governance is a key driver of this action.’
These credit rating upgrades save town taxpayers significant money each time the town bonds for road repaving, sports field improvements and other critical infrastructure upgrades in our parks and facilities. While delivering these important upgrades for the community, the Town Board has also managed to reduce total town debt by $187 million.
Cutting & Freezing Property Taxes
The 2024 Budget continues to sustain the property tax cut approved by the Town Board in 2017 by implementing a plan that again freezes property taxes in 2024 for a sixth straight year.
Accordingly, nearly $9.1 million will be back in the pockets of residents rather than in the coffers of government. This taxpayer savings is possible due to debt reduction initiatives and internal controls which limit new spending.
The 2024 Budget is balanced and reflects $18 million in increased expenses while holding the line on taxes. The increased expenses are largely in areas in which we have no control. Health insurance costs, contractual salary charges and skyrocketing interest rates make up the vast majority of the rise on the expense side.
This budget balances out those expenses by increasing non-tax revenues like interest earnings, Local Government Assistance Program funds and many other revenue lines that have been more conservatively-budgeted under the administration. Despite record level inflation, the Town Budget continues to constrain government spending while delivering the important services residents have come to expect and deserve.
Record Breaking Debt Reduction
The Town Board accelerated debt service payments and limited new borrowings for capital projects. Before the Saladino administration entered office, town debt had reached a high of $763 million. The Saladino administration reduced that by $187 million, more than 25 percent, without raising taxes. This is the largest debt reduction initiative in the town’s 365-year history. The 2024 Budget continues to pay down town debt. As a result of the Town Board’s approach to debt reduction, 2024 debt service payments will be $4 million lower than in 2017 when Supervisor Saladino first took office, helping to alleviate pressure on the operating budget. The reduction would be even greater if it were not for the sharp rise in interest rates seen throughout 2023.
Economic Recovery & Job Creation
Data suggests the global economy is already in a moderate slowdown but the odds of a severe recession are climbing each day due to rising interest rates.
The Town Board is prepared to help residents find employment and sharpen their skills. Through the career center, the town continues to offer free online résumé and job skills services to help residents prepare for workforce re-entry. A group of professional experts offer free startup advice to small businesses. These services are also offered through a Mega Job Fair, offered free to all residents each October. The Saladino administration is committed to helping residents, especially those most in need during this current crisis, find meaningful employment opportunities.
To keep our local economy moving forward, the Town Board directed the Department of Planning & Development to launch online building permit applications and accept credit card payments.
The Saladino administration also reprioritized the workforce to process building applications at a faster pace. The town continues to offer many same-day permits, and has eliminated red-tape for businesses to keep outdoor dining open throughout 2024.
The Saladino administration and Town Board knows that anti-tax, pro-jobs policies are critical for the future of our economy.
Those policies helped attract the corporate headquarters of 1-800-Flowers to Jericho, as well as a Home Depot final destination facility in Hicksville. Furthermore, our policies helped attract a new Amazon distribution facility and hundreds of jobs to Syosset. This facility is significant for the economy as it generates millions in recurring economic activity while bringing new life to a brownfield property that has sat dormant for more than three decades. Dream Car Restorations has found a new home in Plainview, and their automotive skills are featured on The Discovery Channel.
To keep downtowns vibrant and storefronts filled, the Town of Oyster Bay is investing money in downtown revitalization initiatives while supporting small businesses and non-profit organizations with federal grant money. In fact, the Town Board recently released millions of federal dollars to small businesses and chambers of commerce to keep them afloat and boost local initiatives. The town will soon break ground in Hicksville for a 200-unit residential building with retail.
Continuing On The Right Track!
In a short period of time, the Saladino administration has turned a multi-million-dollar operational deficit into a $88 million surplus while cutting property taxes and earning eight Wall Street credit rating upgrades. Now, the Town of Oyster Bay is delivering better services than ever before at a cost of only $144 a month for the average homeowner (less than the monthly cable bill).
—Submitted by the Town of Oyster Bay