Town of Southampton, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Southampton 5-12-1992 by L.L. No. 21-1992; amended in its entirety 3-14-1995 by L.L. No. 16-1995. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Capital program — See Ch. 10.

§ 8-1 Purpose.

[Amended 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 46-2001]
A. 
With the recent expiration of Town Code Chapter 8, §§ 8-1 through 8-5, on December 31, 2000,[1] there is no longer a legislatively mandated goal to reduce property taxes whenever responsible means are available.
[1]
Editor's Note: This refers to the expiration of Chapter 8 as previously amended in its entirety 3-14-1995 by L.L. No. 16-1995.
B. 
This Code amendment intends to place effective restraints on property tax increases. By limiting property tax increases, this amendment will encourage the Town Board to seek other sources of revenues to support community services. By way of this amendment, the Town Board will promote efforts to seek funds other than those generated by real property tax levies without compromising the level of governmental services expected by our residents and taxpayers. More specifically, this chapter will limit increases in property taxes.
C. 
While the Town Board recognizes its fiscal responsibilities to its citizens, it is not the intent of this chapter to bind a future Town Board, which may, at its option, repeal this chapter.

§ 8-2 Definitions.

[Amended 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 46-2001]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
PROPERTY TAX REVENUE
Income derived from the levy of taxes against real property as defined by the Real Property Tax Law, except as provided in § 8-3.
SPECIAL DISTRICT
Includes any improvement or service provided and paid for by the beneficiaries within the district boundaries.

§ 8-3 Limitations on property tax revenue.

[Amended 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 46-2001]
A. 
Property tax revenue shall be limited to the extent it increases the property tax rate over the subsequent year.
B. 
Property tax rates shall not increase in the subsequent year by more than 5% of the property tax rate.
C. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Town Board shall not increase property taxes from the previous year in any amount that would increase the total property tax rate by more than 5% over the previous year for Town budget purposes including full Town and part Town funds, except for special district expenditures including but not limited to water, streetlight, sewer, park, fire protection, ambulance, special road improvements under § 200 of the Town Law, and other similar special district purposes.

§ 8-4 Applicability.

[Amended 10-23-2001 by L.L. No. 46-2001]
The provisions of this chapter shall not be applicable to property taxes levied for the following purposes:
A. 
Where a public emergency has been declared by the Supervisor pursuant to Article 2-B of the State Executive Law and the Town Board determines by that this chapter must be overridden to correct, repair or respond to the emergency; or
B. 
Where the electors of the Town by a public referendum have authorized the expenditure of funds, these funds would be excluded from any limits imposed by this chapter.

§ 8-5 Designation of fund balances.

[Added 5-28-2002 by L.L. No. 18-2002; amended 3-26-2013 by L.L. No. 6-2013]
The Town Board by resolution shall establish a contingency and tax stabilization reserve within the Town of Southampton's total operating budget. This reserve is intended to protect and preserve the future financial status and stability of the Town of Southampton.
A. 
The Comptroller is hereby directed to restrict an amount equal to 10% of the total respective ensuing year’s general fund operating budget, plus maintain at least 7% of the unallocated fund balance consistent with § 8-5B below, for a total of 17%.
[Amended 2-10-2015 by L.L. No. 7-2015]
B. 
The Comptroller shall restrict this required 10% from any budgetary appropriation or surplus revenues as are not otherwise designated by law to other funds or accounts. The Comptroller is hereby directed to maintain an unallocated fund balance of at least 7% of the total respective ensuing year’s budgets for each allowable fund. Beach Erosion Control Districts shall be exempt from this provision.
[Amended 2-10-2015 by L.L. No. 7-2015]
C. 
Fund balance classification. Fund balance classification shall be recorded in accordance with governmental accounting standards as promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board 54 and are as follows:
(1) 
Nonspendable: includes amounts that cannot be spent because they are either not in spendable form or legally or contractually required to be maintained intact; for example: prepaid items, inventories, long-term portions of loans receivable, financial assets held for resale, and principal endowments.
(2) 
Restricted: includes amounts with constraints placed on the use of resources, either externally imposed by creditors, grantors, contributors or laws or regulations of other governments, or imposed by law through constitutional provisions or enabling legislation. Because the state regulates the establishment, funding and use of reserves, generally, they will be classified as restricted fund balance.
(3) 
Committed: includes amounts that can only be used for the specific purposes pursuant to constraints imposed before year end by formal action of the government’s highest level of decision-making authority, i.e., the Town Board. Committed amounts require the same level of formal action to remove the constraint.
(4) 
Assigned: includes amounts that are constrained by the government’s intent to be used for specific purposes but are neither restricted nor committed. The purpose of the assignment must be narrower than the purpose of the General Fund. In funds other than the General Fund, assigned fund balance represents the residual amount of fund balance.
(5) 
Unassigned: includes all other General Fund net assets that do not meet the definition of the above four classifications and are deemed to be available for general use by the Town. The unassigned General Fund balance may only be appropriated by resolution of the Town Board.
(6) 
Order of use of fund balance: The Town shall first apply expenditures against nonspendable fund balance, restricted fund balance, committed fund balance, assigned fund balance, and unassigned fund balance at the end of the fiscal year. For all funds, nonspendable fund balances are determined first and then restricted fund balances for specific purposes are determined. In the General Fund, committed fund balance is determined next and then assigned fund balance. The remaining amounts are reported as unassigned. Assignments of fund balance cannot cause a negative unassigned fund balance.

§ 8-6 Appropriation of Justice Court fees to human service programs.

[Added 9-14-2001 by L.L. No. 34-2001]
A. 
Revenues are received in the Town of Southampton Justice Court through the collection of various fines and other court fees. Up to 15% of all said fines and court fees will be used to fund Human Service Programs organized to educate and enlighten offenders in the hopes of lessening or eliminating repeat offenses.
[Amended 9-27-2011 by L.L. No. 32-2011]
B. 
The Comptroller shall record such monies as shall be appropriated from these fines and court fees in an account to be known as the "Human Service Program Budget Reserve Account."
C. 
Monies in this account may be appropriated only for Human Service Programs relating to the following:
(1) 
Domestic violence.
(2) 
Alcohol and substance abuse.
(3) 
Mental health.
(4) 
Employment training and advocacy.
(5) 
Services for inmates leaving jails/prisons.
D. 
Monies in this account may be expended only after the Town Board of the Town of Southampton publishes a notice, in the official newspapers designated for such purpose, that a public hearing on such proposed appropriation will be held at a time and place stated therein. At least five days shall elapse between the publication of such notice and the date specified for the hearing. The hearing shall be held at the time and place so specified.
E. 
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, monies in the Human Service Programs Reserve Account may be appropriated during the Town's budget process.

§ 8-6.1 Appropriation of Justice Court fees to Town-wide blight mitigation.

[Added 1-8-2013 by L.L. No. 1-2013]
A. 
Revenues are received in the Town of Southampton Justice Court through the collection of various fines and other court fees. An amount equal to 100% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the blight mitigation surcharge mentioned in Town Code § 261-2A shall be used to fund Town-wide blight mitigation. Additionally, an amount equal to no more than 1% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the preceding year's Justice Court fines and court fees, excluding the blight mitigation surcharge of Town Code § 261-2A, shall be used to fund Town-wide blight mitigation in order to provide immediate access to resources necessary to prevent and remedy violations of Town Code Chapter 261, Property Maintenance.
B. 
The Comptroller shall transfer such monies, as shall be calculated in accordance with § 8-6.1A of this chapter, into a reserve account to be known as the “Town-Wide Blight Mitigation Reserve Account." For year 2013, the Comptroller is directed to appropriate into said reserve account an amount equal to no more than 1% of the total net revenues received by the Town through Justice Court fines and fees for 2012. These funds are to be available for appropriation no more than 90 days from the date of this section's adoption.
C. 
Monies in this account may be appropriated for the following reasons:
[Amended 4-8-2014 by L.L. No. 8-2014]
(1) 
To prevent and remedy damage and/or disrepair on Town-owned properties and rights-of-way, except those properties obtained through use of the Community Preservation Fund. Nothing herein shall preclude the use of such monies to prevent and remedy damage and/or disrepair on properties within the unincorporated areas of the Town which are owned by government agencies and/or municipalities other than the Town of Southampton, provided the agency and/or municipality owning the property consents to such use thereon.
[Amended 9-8-2015 by L.L. No. 25-2015]
(2) 
To subsidize the removal and/or demolition of an unsafe condition pursuant to Chapter 128 of this Code. Should funds from the Blight Mitigation Fund be used in this manner, such expenditures shall be recovered by the fund in a manner consistent with § 128-9 of this Code. Upon such recovery of funds, the Comptroller is directed to immediately deposit said funds into the Town-wide Blight Mitigation Fund.
D. 
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, monies in the Town-Wide Blight Mitigation Reserve Account may be appropriated during the Town’s budget process.

§ 8-6.2 Appropriation of Justice Court fees to Water Quality Protection Fund.

[Added 5-13-2014 by L.L. No. 13-2014]
A. 
Revenues are received in the Town of Southampton Justice Court through the collection of various fines and other court fees. An amount equal to 100% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the water quality protection surcharge shall be used in accordance with the Water Quality Protection Fund outlined in Chapter 75 of this Code and administered in a manner wholly consistent with § 75-3 of this Code. Additionally, an amount equal to no more than 1% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the preceding year's Justice Court fines and court fees, excluding the water quality protection surcharge and/or any other appropriations made by the Town Board pursuant to Chapter 75, shall be used in accordance with the Water Quality Protection Fund outlined in Chapter 75 of this Code and administered in a manner wholly consistent with § 75-3 of this Code. The specific dollar amount of said Justice Court revenues, not to exceed 1%, to be appropriated into the Water Quality Protection Fund shall be determined during the annual budget process and adopted pursuant thereto.

§ 8-6.3 Appropriation of Justice Court fees to Community Housing Opportunity Fund.

[Added 10-25-2016 by L.L. No. 12-2016]
A. 
Revenues are received in the Town of Southampton Justice Court through the collection of various fines and other court fees. An amount equal to 100% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the community housing opportunity surcharge shall be used in accordance with the Community Housing Opportunity Fund outlined in Chapter 216 of this Code and administered in a manner wholly consistent with § 216-7 of this Code. Additionally, an amount equal to no more than 1% of the net revenues retained by the Town from the preceding year's Justice Court fines and court fees, excluding the community housing opportunity surcharge, shall be used in accordance with the Community Housing Opportunity Fund outlined in Chapter 216 of this Code and administered in a manner wholly consistent with § 216-7 of this Code. The specific dollar amount of said Justice Court revenues, not to exceed 1%, to be appropriated into the Community Housing Opportunity Fund shall be determined during the annual budget process and adopted pursuant thereto.

§ 8-7 Annual review of fees.

[Added 1-5-2004 by L.L. No. 1-2004]
A. 
All fees, including application fees, shall be reviewed annually by the Department of Land Management for appropriateness and possible changes. Any proposed changes in fees shall be presented to the Supervisor with the Department’s annual budget request, so that said fees may be considered in conjunction with the tentative budget for the following year.
B. 
A copy of the fee schedule shall be in the Town Clerk’s office for review prior to the adoption of the final budget.
C. 
The Town Board shall consider any proposed fee changes in conjunction with the approval of the final budget.
D. 
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the Department of Land Management from requesting a change in fees at any other time of the year through Town Board resolution.
E. 
All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be allocated to the operating fund associated with the services provided and shall be utilized to offset costs in the Department of Land Management.

§ 8-8 Resolutions for interfund loans and interfund transfers; authorized debt; annual reports.

[Added 10-13-2009 by L.L. No. 43-2009]
A. 
Definitions. For purposes of this § 8-8 only, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
FUND
A group of accounts set aside for the purpose of accounting for monies or other resources.
INTERFUND LOAN
A temporary advance of monies held in one fund to any other fund.
INTERFUND TRANSFER
A budgetary transfer between appropriations.
B. 
Town Board resolution required.
(1) 
All interfund loans, to the extent such loans are permitted by state law, shall be authorized only by Town Board resolution. Such resolution shall set forth the total amount of the monies being borrowed, the anticipated repayment date, the interest rates established for the attendant timeline, and the repayment obligation amount. Such resolution shall clearly set forth the loaning district/fund and the borrowing district/fund.
(2) 
All interfund transfers, to the extent such transfers are permitted by state law, shall be authorized only by Town Board resolution. Such resolution shall set forth the total amount of the monies being transferred and the transferring district/fund and the receiving district/fund. Whenever practicable, the resolution shall specify the timing of the transfer, and in the absence of any specificity in the resolution as to timing, the completion of the accounting transaction shall be within the same calendar year as the authorizing resolution.
(3) 
The Town's annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is filed on or before June 30 of each year to report the financial condition and the issued debt of the Town and its special assessment districts, shall be presented at a public work session. A Town Board resolution shall be required authorizing the Supervisor's submission on behalf of the Town of Southampton, following review and approval of the Town Attorney and Town Comptroller.
C. 
Annual reports from the Comptroller.
(1) 
Due To/Due From Accounting Report. The Comptroller shall provide the Town Board with an annual report of the interfund loans across taxing districts, clearly indicating the Town Board resolution authorizing the borrowing, the loaning district/fund and the borrowing district/fund, the original amount of the loan, the interest paid on the loan, the amount repaid by the borrowing district, and the balances owed at year-end, if any. The Due To/Due From Accounting Report shall be provided on or before March 30 of each year.
(2) 
Interfund Transfers Report. The Comptroller shall provide the Town Board with an annual report of the interfund transfers authorized by the Town Board, clearly indicating the Town Board resolution authorizing the transfer, the transferring district/fund and the receiving district/fund, and the timing of the transfer. The Interfund Transfers Report shall be provided on or before March 30 of each year.
(3) 
Authorized, Unissued Bonds Report. The Comptroller shall provide the Town Board with an annual report of the authorized, unissued bonds authorized by the Town Board, clearly indicating the Town Board resolution authorizing the borrowing, the original amount authorized, the portion remaining unissued, and the purposes of the bond. The Authorized, Unissued Bonds Report shall be provided on or before June 30 and December 31 of each year.
D. 
Budgeting requirements.
(1) 
The Annual Operating Budget shall reflect any interfund transfers that will be made to support the Capital Budget, with each capital project separately identified for each sending district/fund. Direct appropriations of budgetary surplus to fund select capital projects shall also be subject to the requirements enumerated in § 8-8B(2) above and Chapter 10, Capital Program, of the Town Code.
(2) 
The Annual Operating Budget shall include the Authorized, Unissued Bonds Report, as updated on or before June 30 of each year and shall be made attendant to the Supervisor's Tentative Budget for the Bonded Indebtedness Schedules.

§ 8-9 Tax levy limit override.

[Added 11-20-2013 by L.L. No. 21-2013]
The Town Board of the Town of Southampton is hereby authorized to adopt a budget for the 2014 fiscal year that requires a real property tax levy in excess of the limit specified in General Municipal Law § 3-c. This override is specifically attributed to the increased tax levy as a result of the special districts known as the Bridgehampton Beach Erosion Control District and the Sagaponack Beach Erosion Control District.