Written by Ron Scaglia Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:14
At a recent board meeting, the Farmingdale Village Board voted to amend a law, which would allow the village to exceed the New York State Property Tax Cap. However, fear not taxpayers of Farmingdale, Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said that action is a precautionary measure.
“We voted to go over the cap just in case,” Ekstrand told the Farmingdale Observer.
Voting to override the tax is a measure that many municipalities take so the flexibility is there to do so, even though the intent is to not to. The mayor said that’s the case in Farmingdale. According to Ekstrand, the tentative budget, which will be voted on April 15, calls for an approximately 2 percent hike in taxes. The mayor adds that that the tentative budget, which he says is available for viewing on the Village of Farmingdale’s website as well as at Village Hall, calls for no layoffs and no depletion of services. He described it as “kind of a roll-over budget.”
“We trimmed as much fat as we could and tried to live within the box,” Ekstrand remarked.
The mayor also added that voting to give municipalities the option of exceeding the tax cap is looked at positively by municipal bond rating agencies. Ekstrand said that giving the village the provision to supercede the tax cap would actually help to keep the village’s bond rating in good standing, although he again emphasized that the village is not planning on actually doing so.
“Moody’s looks more favorable on bond ratings if you vote to go over the cap,” he said. “You have the ability to go over the cap.”
The mayor also confirmed that the process is continuing to move along towards the building of Phase II of Bartone Plaza. He said that the original goal was to construct a hotel, but those plans failed to materialize so now the construction of apartments and retail shops, such as is being done at Phase I of Bartone Plaza, is planned. Ekstrand said that the aim is for construction to begin on Phase I by June, and Phase by August or September.
The mayor also said that the process is moving along on the construction of luxury apartments on a vacant lot on Route 109, just east of Main Street. According to the mayor, 24 luxury apartments will be built along with four penthouses. He said the complex would have luxury accommodations such as a full service concierge service. Ekstrand added that this would continue the redevelopment of Farmingdale and be a benefit to the village and its residents.
“It will put a $12-15 million structure on a vacant lot,” he said. “What do you think that will do for the tax base?”
The mayor also added that the apartments would spur consumer spending, as those who live in luxurious apartments are more likely to have higher levels of disposable income.