Great Neck Library adopts budget with reduced tax increase of 3.5%

Great Neck Library adopts budget with reduced tax increase of 3.5%
The Great Neck Library's Main Branch location.

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved its nearly $10.4 million budget for 2024-2025 Monday night, which was updated to lower the tax increase to 3.5%.

The library’s budget for the next fiscal year is set at $10,394,362, a 3.8% increase from its current budget of $10,013,629.

“The library is an extraordinarily valuable resource in our community and this modest increase reflects both our commitment to ensuring a wide and robust range of programs and services at the library while being protective of taxpayers’ wallets,” Board President Rory Lancman said.

While the original budget proposal featured a 4.42% tax increase, which fell below the allowable tax increase, the final budget dropped the tax increase to 3.5% in the wake of residents pushing back against the hike.

The cutback in the library’s tax increase was made possible by pulling $80,000 from its landscaping funds to go toward the budget’s expenses.

About $1.7 million remains in the landscaping fund.

Business manager Steven Kashkin said at a March budget hearing that a portion of the proposed tax increase is in response to the library’s expected 42.31% drop of PILOT revenues, or payments in lieu of taxes, due to three large businesses previously engaged in PILOT joining the tax roll.

PILOT revenues account for 0.7%, or $75,000, of the 2024-2025 budgeted revenues.

Like many other municipalities, the Great Neck Library is also having to consider rising costs, specifically in employee benefits, for their 2024-2025 budgets.

Kashkin said the biggest expense growth for the library is employee benefits.

Total employee benefits and taxes for the library are budgeted to increase in the next fiscal year by 12.15%, or $249,349.

Health insurance costs for both employees and retirees will also increase by about 10% for each.

New York State retirement expenses for full-time employees are also anticipated to increase by 28.23%, or $106,428, and 25.62% for part-time employees, or $13,981, in the adopted budget.

Employee benefits for current employees constitute an 11.04% increase in the next fiscal year, and a 10.88% increase for retired employees, according to the library’s proposed budget.

Salary expenses will also rise in 2024-2025.

The total salaries for full-time employees are budgeted to increase by 4.19%, or $152,250, under the budget. Kashkin attributed this growth to adjustments in salaries for department heads, a 2% increase for union employees and a full year’s salary for a library clerk.

The total salaries for part-time employees are budgeted to decrease by 5.05%, or $52,725, which Kashkin said is due to the replacement of higher-paid staff who left with lower-paid, newly hired employees, and a push off of the hiring of three pages employees until later in the fiscal year.

The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees will convene again on April 16 for its next regularly scheduled board meeting.

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