In an October 17th bipartisan vote, the Hempstead Town Board approved Supervisor Anthony J. Santino’s 2018 operational budget, which cuts town spending for the third consecutive year. The financial document reflects Santino’s priorities—cutting costs, reducing staffing levels, trimming payroll and holding managers accountable. In fact, the Supervisor’s 2018 operational budget is slashed by $3.7 million or .88 percent compared to the 2017 fiscal plan, producing a structurally balanced budget.
“I am proud to have crafted a 2018 budget that slashes spending and is accountable to taxpayers,” said Santino. “Further, this financial document is structurally balanced, including sufficient revenues to meet expenses, without any reliance on ‘one shot’ revenues or any other fiscal gimmicks.”
Additionally, the Supervisor indicated that he believed it was important to lead by example, noting that he had cut the Supervisor’s Office budget and the Supervisor’s Office payroll in 2018.
“‘Don’t ask anybody else to do anything that you aren’t willing to do yourself’ is an adage that has guided the work of my administration,” said the Supervisor. “That’s why I have cut my own office’s payroll by almost 6 percent at the same time as I’ve cut overall spending in the town’s 2018 operational budget by $3.7 million.”
The following chart details Supervisor Santino’s cuts to both his office’s payroll and his office’s overall budget for 2018. The Supervisor is leading by example, cutting his office’s costs at the same time as the entire 2018 operational budget has been reduced:
The Supervisor’s 2018 budget continues a tradition of “doing more with less.” In fact, Santino is credited with reforming the 2016 budget that he inherited from a previous administration upon taking office as Supervisor. He transformed a budgeted 2016 operational deficit of $23.5 million into a $5 million operational surplus by slashing discretionary spending by 24 percent and cutting actual overtime costs by 56 percent vs. 2015 (excludes premium pay), among other financial reforms.
Santino followed up his 2016 successes by presenting an inaugural budget in 2017 that constituted the township’s first structurally balanced budget (budgeted revenues were equal to expenses) in over 25 years.
The Supervisor’s 2018 budget extends his trend of reducing salary costs and shrinking the workforce. In fact, the town’s administration is on track to slash salary costs by $14.6 million in 2017 compared to the 2016 budgeted amount. And, Santino’s 2018 spending plan will further trim salary costs by $200,000 below the 2017 total of $162.5 million. A key component of keeping a tight rein on salary costs lays in “rightsizing” the workforce. In 2018, the Supervisor will cut the number of full-time positions for the second consecutive year. The 44 person workforce reduction in his 2018 proposal represents a 2.3 percent cut compared to the 2017 figure. Indeed, staffing levels have been reduced by 4 percent compared to the headcount of just two years ago.
While Santino was preparing the 2018 budget, the town received an impressive “report card” acknowledging the Supervisor’s impressive fiscal reforms. A recently released “fiscal stress” report by New York State’s “fiscal watchdog,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, acknowledged that Hempstead Town’s level of “fiscal stress” dropped from 62.5 percent in 2015, the year prior to Santino becoming Supervisor, to 28.3 percent in 2016, the end of his first year at the helm of town government. The
55 percent improvement removes the township from the state’s designation list of municipalities with “moderate fiscal stress” and places it in the most favorable category available, which is entitled “no designation.” The report is a key indicator of the fiscal stability of local governments.
“My administration is ‘walking the walk’ while other governments simply ‘talk the talk’ when it comes to fiscal responsibility,” concluded Santino. “We’ve adopted a structurally balanced 2018 budget that cuts spending, reduces payroll costs, cuts discretionary spending, shrinks the town’s workforce and dramatically curtails overtime costs. But, I am most proud of the fact that this budget includes cuts to the Supervisor’s Office budget and the Supervisor’s Office payroll because ‘leading by example’ is the only way I know how to govern.”