Stewart Manor Village Holds Line on Taxes

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Board Eyes Parking Meters as Revenue Stream

It appears to be smooth sailing for Stewart Manor, as the incorporated village embarks on its 2010-2011 fiscal year. The village has weathered the tumultuous economic climate, reporting a zero percent increase to its tax levy for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2010. While residents’ tax bills may differ by a few dollars in either direction, effectively there is no tax increase, said Mayor James J. Kelly at the Village of Stewart Manor meeting on June 1.

The village took a multi-pronged approach to avoid a tax increase year over year. “We tried to do three things,” explained Kelly. “We tried to increase our revenue, limit our expenses and renegotiate contractual agreements with utilities [including Nextel, which has a tower in Stewart Manor].” He added that the village aggressively applies for grants to help fund capital improvement projects, alleviating the need to draw from the village’s tax base.

“One of the things that’s going to contribute to our budget, which ended [May 31, 2010], coming in with a surplus was one of the things we put into place last year, which was the concession at the pool,” Kelly said. Stewart Manor has a symbiotic relationship with the Stewart Manor Country Club (SMCC). “They are giving us the food at cost, which is turning into a great profit center for the village.” In return, the village publicizes SMCC events through village-wide electronic messages. Kelly added that the board plans to tweak the concession menu this summer in hopes of building on last summer’s success.

Going forward, parking meters along Covert Avenue, and within the municipal parking lot on the corner of Chester and Covert avenues, will provide a steadier stream of revenue for the village. As of May 25, the meter fee changed from 25 cents for one hour to 25 cents for 30 minutes. The hours have also been extended. Meter usage is now required from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Prior to making those changes, the village did its due diligence by consulting surrounding villages. Bellerose Village and Mineola also charge 25 cents for 30 minutes, and Rockville Centre charges 25 cents for 20 minutes. Mayor Kelly noted that by making those changes, the board anticipates an additional $25,000 in revenue for the village, which equates to almost $50 per household.

Additionally, the village scrutinized unnecessary spending, such as its monthly newsletter, The Manorite, which is now delivered electronically. Not only will that save the village thousands of dollars in publishing costs each year, it will also help reduce the village’s carbon footprint.

The village’s tax base was also spared by capital improvement expenditures funded by grants. The Stewart Manor Pool needed two new pool vacuums, a few new tables and chairs, and the parking lot was repaved—all of which tapped into grant money, not tax dollars.

Buoyed by a solid fiscal year end, Stewart Manor stands poised to jump into summer with both feet. Preseason beginner swim lesson registration is set for Friday, June 11, at Village Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. The pool opens on June 19. As has become tradition, children will camp out in front of the entrance, awaiting the 11 a.m. opening, to see who will be the first to jump in.

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