The Garden City Board of Trustees on April 4 adopted the 2022 through 2023 Village Budget that included ample funding to village resources while not raising taxes.
“The village continues to fund all the services and programs that the residents want and expect,” said the Village Treasurer Irene Woo. “What stands out most about this budget compared to other budgets in the past is that we are accomplishing this with no increase to the tax levy this year. In the past, the village always tried to maintain the level of tax levy increase to a minimum and never raise taxes to the full extent allowed by the tax levy law, but this year we didn’t see a need to increase taxes.”
In terms of recreation, the village is budgeting funding to address the increase of use of village fields and facilities.
“The head of the recreation department has continued to fund programs to pre-COVID levels,” Woo said. “The COVID protocols are relaxing a bit and we are seeing a lot more participation in recreational programs and use of the various fields and facilities. The village has numerous fields, recreational fields, that it uses and also rents out… This past summer the village saw a tremendous increase in the use of the swimming pool.”
Woo explained that the village has a separate enterprise fund for the pool, and when the village was experiencing the height of COVID, it saw a steep decline in pool use. But now, the village is budgeting for an expected increase use of the swimming pool.
Meanwhile, the tennis facility did see an increase in use during the pandemic.
“We’re expecting for the 2022 to 2023 budget to see an increase in use overall of all the facilities and the programs,” Woo said.
As for the library, the village’s contribution to the library in this upcoming fiscal year is $3,123,300. The Garden City Public Library is currently undergoing a children’s room project that will make a space that is open and spacious with dedicated areas for different ages and activities. The project will also bring more programs, books and technology for children who use the library.
“The village has made it a priority within the past few years to fund improvements to the village’s facilities and the library has been a lot of the funding in the past few years,” Woo said. “They do have a major project going on, which is the renovation of the children’s room. That is about a little over $1 million project. In addition to that, there is also an improvement to the whole HVAC, replacement of the roof and the replacement of the fire alarm system. So that is pretty much a big investment in that one facility alone.”
In addition to improvements to the village that residents can see, the village has also funded road pavings and repairs.
“We have a pretty good road repair program in place,” Woo said. “There’s also current projects in place to replace the street LED lights and also improvements various recreational facilities. There is a recent project to improve the senior center and, of course, improving the neighborhood parks and renovating the mini golf course and also continuing to invest in the tree management program that the village is known for.”
Sticking out in the budget is also the water fund: $191,686. The increase of the water fund can mostly be attributed to the multi-year project concerning the water well treatment.
“Because of the levels of dioxin that was found in the water county-wide… the village has been proactive in implementing water well treatment projects,” Woo said. “The village has 10 water wells and five or six different well sites and has been investing in projects to remediate the dioxin in the water.”
The estimated cost of the water well project is $50 million, but the village has been reaching out to New York State for grant funding. Two grants were approved to address two well sites, a value of $8 million, and the village will continue to request for funding to address the rest.
“The village also underwent an $8 million renovation of the water tank,” Woo said. “The ongoing cost, the appreciation cost, of these projects is what is driving the increase in the water fund.”
The Fire Safety Committee has presented recommendations to the the trustees, such as funding towards the training facility at the Village Yard, three engine and pumper trucks and the final design of Fire Station Two.
“The Village Administrator [Ralph] Suozzi presented to the board recommendations from the Fire Safety Committee, which was appointed by the mayor,” Woo said. “The village administrator is working with the chief in terms of coming up with dollar amounts of what the dollar impact would be [to the budget]. This was a very prelimary presentation to the board as far as where they are today, however they still need time to do better analysis to come up with better numbers. This is the direction the board wanted to hear.”
To learn more about the adopted 2022 through 2023 Village Budget, visit gardencityny.net.