In addition to hopefully a spirit of community, there are some tangible benefits to living in the village that residents should be aware of. Some of this may be news to newer residents and we would encourage you to reach out to your village officials with any questions.
The Village of the Branch maintains its’ own village hall – where regular meetings take place and residents can make enquiries as to local laws, policies etc. The village maintains its’ own Planning Board – members of which help to ensure that development is done in keeping with the quality of life village residents expect. We have a Zoning Board of Appeals – to whom one can appear before for requests that are outside of our current laws and guidelines. While code enforcement is presently outsourced to Smithtown Public Safety, we do maintain our own Court system with justices and court personnel who are responsible to making sure our laws are abided by. Presiding over the management of the village are the Mayor and Board of Trustees – all of whom are elected for two year terms and are responsible for maintaining the quality of life residents look for. Keeping track of all of this activity and maintaining the day to day operation of Village Hall is the responsibility of the Village Clerk who maintains office hours two days a week.
One might assume that all of this requires an additional tax burden on residents when in fact the opposite is true. Currently, residents of the village pay less in taxes than our neighbors in the larger Town of Smithtown. If one were to look at your tax bill you would see that while village residents pay the same school taxes ( which are admittedly a large portion of the bill ) village residents pay a reduced Town tax and do not pay the following taxes:
1) Highway 1
2) Fire District
This is due to the village contracting directly for services such as Snow Plowing, Sweeping, Leaf & Brush pickup, Fire Dept coverage and other services. This direct cost management results in village residents paying in many cases hundreds of dollars less on an annual basis than town residents. In fact, if you use a typical village property assessment of $6000 – the amount saved on an annual basis is approximately $500 which is a noticeable savings – especially in these challenging economic times.
In addition to this savings, there are less tangible benefits to living in the village. Residents have their own voice in local government and can access records and officials on a more local level. We have our own Building Inspector and Village Engineer who in addition to looking out for our quality of life are often much more accessible than their counterparts in the town – simply due to the volume of work the larger offices have. Residents can attend Board meetings and provide input during the open portions of those meetings – providing them with a more direct voice to the individuals responsible for maintaining the village.
All of this and what we would like to think is a closer feeling of community are a few of the things that differentiates the Village of The Branch from its’ neighbors and saves village residents some of their hard earned dollars.