Brookhaven Notebook: Results of Town-Wide Business Survey, Bond Rating, and Census 2010

A roundup of news from Suffolk's largest municipality.

According to a survey of businesses conducted by the Brookhaven Small Business Advisory Council, 84 percent of the 129 respondents believe that Brookhaven Town is a positive place to do business.
The survey was the first by the Brookhaven Small Business Advisory Council,
who polled businesses through an questionnaire filed online or by fax on how they felt about their business’s performance and future outlook.

Bruce Newman, presdent of the advisory council, said it will be using information from this and future surveys to build a database of businesses.

The results were announced at a press conference Monday by Town Supervisor
Mark Lesko.

“One of the trends was that about 42 percent of buisnesses are optimistic about 2011. And a good number see themselves hiring in 2011,” Newman said. The survey shows 42 percent of those responding anticipate taking on new employees.

Lesko said the town still has not experienced "a meaningful rebound in the housing market,” and said small businesses are rebounding faster then the housing market.

“We didn’t quite know what the survey would tell us," Lesko said. "We assumed it would be bad news, but we were all suprised by the results."

Town Bond Rating Stable

Standard & Poor has reaffirmed Brookhaven's AA+ bond rating, saying the town has a stable outlook and has "proactively responded to fiscal challenges and continues to aggressively monitor the town’s revenues," according to a town statement.

According to its rating system, a grade of AA+ is one of the highest the Wall Street rating agency can give. A high bond rating is known to benefit towns by leading to lower interest rates when borrowing money.

Among the practices S&P cited as responsible are a town policy of maintaining a fund balance representing at least 20 percent of its expenditures; limiting debt service to the lesser of either 15 percent of its revenues or expenditures; and annually updated capital improvement plans and long-term financial projections.

Census: Brookhaven Population Grows

Brookhaven is more populated – and more diverse – than it was a decade ago, according to new Census data.

Suffolk's largest municipality saw a population increase of about 8.4 percent between 2000 and 2010, and mirrored a trend seen across the whole of Long Island: a rise in the number of African American and Hispanic or Latino residents.

The town showed nearly 20,000 more housing units in 2010 than in 2000, an increase of abou 12.6 percent, while the housing vacancy rate also jumped during that time period.

2010 Census Percent 2000 Census Percent Total Population 486,040 100.0 448,248 100.0 Total Population: one race 474,745 97.7 439,862 98.1 Total Population: two or more races 11,295 2.3 8,386 1.9 White 410,649 84.5 396,381 88.4 Black or African American 26,639 5.5 19,411 4.3 Hispanic or Latino 60,270 12.4 36,041 8.0 Asian 19,082 3.9 13,019 2.9 American Indian or Alaska Native 1,368 0.3 1,036 0.2 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 152 0.0 113 0.0 Other 16,855 3.5 9,902 0.2 Total Housing Units 175,026 100.0 155,406 100.00 Vacant Housing Units 12,142 6.9 8,578 5.5


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