Oyster Bay is freezing taxes for the third year in a row, after cutting spending and taxes by $1.3 million in the 2018 budget. According to Town officials, the tax freeze is possible due to spending reductions, smart government planning, and debt reduction. Debt has declined by over $160 million under Town Supervisor Joe Saladino (R-Massapequa).
Saladino unveiled his 2021 Proposed Town Budget last week. According to Saladino, the Budget continues to pay down record amounts of Town debt while enhancing the delivery of quality services.
"We are returning fiscal stability and restoring trust to delivering the highest level of services while protecting our quality of life," stated Saladino. "The Town Board and I have moved Oyster Bay forward from its darkest days to its brightest. This proposed budget continues to restrict new spending while freezing property taxes and making smart investments in our roadways. This balanced budget builds on our overall financial success which has been recognized by four credit rating upgrades from two independent Wall Street firms.”
Highlights of the budget include:
Eliminating an operating deficit that reached $44 million under the prior administration, and turning the budget deficit into a $27 million surplus in just three years, while cutting property taxes.
Securing two upgrades this year in the Town’s credit rating. Both Moody’s Financial Services and Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings recognized the Town's success in reducing debt by a historic $160 million. The two credit ratings increases lower the cost of the Town's existing debt and reduce the interest rates paid by the Town on its municipal notes.
"A single credit rating increase during this COVID economic crisis is amazing, yet two is remarkable, " stated Saladino.
The Town reduced the public debt by accelerating debt service payments and limiting new borrowings. Five years ago, the Town debt had reached a high of $763 million. The Saladino administration reduced that by $160 million, more than 20%, in just three years without raising taxes.
"This is the largest debt reduction initiative in the Town’s 365 year history," noted Saladino. "The 2021 Proposed Budget continues to pay down another $10 million in Town debt."
Finally the Town has a series of economic recovery programs to speed the post-COVID economic recovery.
"We knew it was critical to jumpstart the way in which government operates," explained Saladino. "In the Building Department, we eliminated red tape so restaurants could open outdoor dining immediately and recently extended this program throughout 2021. Our administration reprioritized the workforce to process building applications at a faster pace and put people back to work."
The Town Board is expected to approve the 2021 Budget at its next meeting.