Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman voted against an amended 2013 budget that would include changes made by the councilmembers.
There was discussion during Tuesday night's meeting about amending the budget to create more of a cushion to absorb cleanup from disastrous storms such as Tropical Storm Irene and Super Storm Sandy.
Councilman Thomas Dwyer said he would have voted for a budget that was under the 2 percent tax cap three weeks ago, but following Sandy he wanted to be able to pay workers for cleanup for another potential storm without burdening next year's budget. The town has not yet been paid the FEMA money its due from Irene, although that funding is expected in a few months. Now the town has to lay out money for Sandy and will again be reimbursed to an extent by FEMA but will take a while to receive their funding.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board requires that towns have two months of operating funds on hand, which would be about 8.5 percent of the general fund. The town rounds that number up to 10 percent of the fund balance in the general fund. Currently because the town is waiting for money from Nassau County, that fund has dipped to 7.56 percent, although when that money comes in it will hit 13.5 percent.
Although Kaiman said after the meeting that he could understand both arguments regarding the budget, he put forth a "sound budget" that was changed by town councilmembers to exceed the 2 percent tax cap, which he is against doing.
Besides Kaiman, Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio and Councilman Angelo Ferrara voted against the budget. The remaining town councilmembers voted for it.
When DeGiorgio joked that this no-vote meant that Kaiman was changing political parties, Kaiman retorted "No, no, a thousand times, no."