Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino unveiled his 2022 Proposed Town Budget that continues to sustain the $1.3 million property tax cut approved by the Town Board for 2018 by implementing a plan that freezes property taxes for the fourth straight year. This tax freeze is once again possible thanks to the spending restraints, efficiencies and debt reduction initiatives put in place by the Town Board. The proposed budget for 2022 continues to pay down record amounts of Town debt, while enhancing the delivery of quality Town services.
Since first taking office, Supervisor Saladino has successfully worked to decrease total Town debt by $165 million, as well as eliminate the $44 million multi-year budget deficit that existed before he took office. Due to fiscally-conservative budgeting practices, the Town Board produced four consecutive budget surpluses and now has its highest reserve fund ever – totaling nearly $50 million in reserves. The days of deficits are long gone, and this budget contains no gimmicks nor one-shot revenues. Furthermore, the budget is fully-balanced and does not rely on any borrowing for cash-flow purposes.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “Our Town Board continues to ensure fiscal stability while delivering the highest level of services to our residents. This balanced budget continues to build on our overall financial success – which has been recognized with six credit rating upgrades from two independent Wall Street firms – while restricting new spending, freezing property taxes and making smart investments in our roadways.
IMPROVED FINANCES & BUDGET SURPLUSES
The Saladino administration has successfully turned around a Town that once faced financial ruin. Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board fully eliminated an operating deficit that had reached $44 million in the past and, in fact, they turned that deficit into a $47.8 million surplus in just four years – all while cutting property taxes. Fiscal responsibility in government is essential to creating a better, stronger, more prosperous community for this and future generations. That is why the 2022 Proposed 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 other important destinations to combatting zombie homes and jumpstarting environmental remediation, the Town Board is making our community a better place.
WALL STREET CREDIT RATING UPGRADES
The Town of Oyster Bay’s financial turnaround has been recognized by two independent Wall Street firms which both upgraded the Town’s credit rating this year. These marked the fifth and sixth credit rating upgrades since Supervisor Saladino took office and, even more impressively, the fourth during the COVID pandemic. Moody’s Financial Services and Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings both recognized Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board’s success in reducing debt by historic amounts and upgraded the Town to an “A3” and “A+” rating, respectively. In 2020, the New York State Comptroller’s Office removed the Town of Oyster Bay from its fiscal stress monitoring list for the first time since the program’s inception in 2013. When the State Comptroller republished its stress monitoring list in 2021, the Town was again not included. In fact, the Town’s stress score dropped to its lowest level ever. These financial successes are important as they allow the Town to access lower rates when bonding for roadway improvements and other infrastructure enhancements.
CUTTING & FREEZING PROPERTY TAXES
The 2022 Proposed 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 2022 for a fourth straight year. Accordingly, nearly $6.5 million will be back in the pockets of residents rather than in the coffers of government. This taxpayer savings is possible due to our debt reduction initiatives and internal controls which limit new spending.
The 2022 Proposed Budget is balanced and holds the line on spending growth. Budgeted expenses were $311 million in 2021 and will be $311 million in 2022. Despite increased expenses related to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the Town Budget continues to constrain government spending that is under our control while delivering the important services our residents have come to expect and deserve.
RECORD BREAKING DEBT REDUCTION
Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board accelerated debt service payments and limited new borrowings for capital projects. Before this administration entered office, Town debt had reached a high of $763 million. The Saladino administration reduced that by $165 million, more than 20%, without raising taxes. This is the largest debt reduction initiative in the Town’s 365 year history. The 2022 Proposed Budget continues to pay down Town debt. As a result of the Town Board’s approach to debt reduction, debt service will be $8 million lower in 2022 than 2021 and $15 million lower than in 2017 when Supervisor Saladino first took office, helping to alleviate pressure on the operating budget.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY & JOB CREATION
Once the economy began to reopen from State-mandated closures, the Town Board and Supervisor Saladino knew it was critical to jumpstart the way in which government operates. In the Building Department, they eliminated red tape so restaurants could open outdoor dining immediately and recently extended this program throughout 2021. The administration reprioritized the workforce to process building applications at a faster pace and put people back to work.
Through its career center, the Town continues to offer free online resume and job skills services to help residents at home 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. This administration is committed to helping residents, especially those most in need during this current crisis, find meaningful employment opportunities.
Supervisor Saladino and Councilmembers have been working diligently to attract new employers. Anti-tax, pro-jobs policies have laid the foundation for the return of jobs at a time when our economy and residents need it the most. The 1-800-Flowers company is now moving its corporate headquarters to Jericho. Home Depot is opening a new final destination facility in Hicksville. GEICO is adding over 100 jobs to their offices in Woodbury. London Jewelers selected Glen Head for their new corporate headquarters. Amazon is creating over 600 new jobs at its new distribution facility in Syosset, which is significant for our economy as it will generate millions in recurring economic activity while bringing new life to a brownfield property that has sat dormant for more than three decades.
CONTINUING ON THE RIGHT TRACK!
In a short period of time, Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board have turned a multi-million dollar operational deficit into a $47 million surplus while cutting property taxes. The Saladino administration earned six Wall Street credit rating upgrades and the State Comptroller recognized this success.
The Town of Oyster Bay is delivering better services than ever before – evening during this COVID pandemic – and the administration is doing it at a cost of $144 a month for the average homeowner (less than your monthly cable bill).