On October 27th, the Oyster Bay Town Board unanimously adopted a budget for 2021 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 third straight year. This tax freeze is possible due to spending restraints, efficiencies and debt reduction initiatives. In fact, total Town debt has declined by $160 million under Supervisor Saladino. The 2021 Adopted Budget continues to pay down record amounts of Town debt while enhancing the delivery of quality services. There are neither budget gimmicks nor one-shot revenues included in this fully balanced budget.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “From returning fiscal stability and restoring trust to delivering the highest level of services while protecting your quality of life, the Town Board and I have moved Oyster Bay forward from its darkest days to its brightest. This 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.”
IMPROVED FINANCES & BUDGET SURPLUSES
The Town once faced financial ruin under the prior administration, yet the Saladino administration and Town Board have turned things around. Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board fully eliminated an operating deficit that reached $44 million under the prior administration. In fact, they turned the budget deficit into a $27 million surplus in just three years 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 2021 Adopted 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. 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 a historic $160 million. A single credit rating increase during this COVID economic crisis is amazing, yet two is remarkable. Additionally, the New York State Comptroller’s Office recently removed the Town of Oyster Bay from its fiscal stress monitoring list for the first time since the program’s inception in 2013. These credit rating increases are important as they allow the Town to access cheaper rates when bonding for roadway improvements and other infrastructure enhancements.
CUTTING & FREEZING PROPERTY TAXES
While other municipalities plan to raise taxes next year, the 2021 Adopted 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 2021 for a third straight year. Accordingly, nearly $5.2 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 2021 Adopted Budget is balanced and holds spending growth to less than 2 percent. In 2021, the Town will face a 1.7% increase in costs but taxes will not increase due to strong fiscal management practices. Increased expenses are associated with contractual obligations to the workforce as well as changes in the way the Town operates amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these increased expenses, 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
For too many years, administrations of the past racked up large amounts of debt associated with capital projects. Supervisor Saladino and the Town Board accelerated debt service payments and limited new borrowings. Before this administration entered office, 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. The 2021 Adopted Budget continues to pay down another $10 million in Town debt.
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. 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 plans to create over 600 new jobs and build a new distribution facility in Syosset, which is a significant for our economy as it will generate millions in recurring economic activity while bringing environmental cleanup to a brownfield property that has sat dormant for more than three decades.
WE ARE 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 $27 million surplus while cutting property taxes. The Saladino administration earned four Wall Street credit rating upgrades and the State Comptroller recently recognized our 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).