Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 30 October 2009 00:00
The Glen Cove City Council discussed and approved the budget for 2010 on Tuesday night, after much scrutiny and public and political debate. The budget, proposed by Mayor Ralph Suozzi, was discussed at length in City Hall, and voted on unanimously by all members of the council.
The total proposed budget for next year is just under $66 million – a roughly $65,910,000 total with “real operations” costing about $44,000,000 and the remainder being shifts in funds called “interfund transfers.”
The budget underwent several revisions over the past month, and the final version is lower than the one originally proposed, Mayor Suozzi stated at the beginning of the meeting. The tax rate is the same as the original proposal, he said. Several other changes had been made since the last council meeting on Oct. 13, and the summary of these changes was addressed.
Mayoral candidate Paul Meli wanted to know why a certain amount of money was left out of the budget, when it was known to be actual revenue for next year. The mayor responded that the amount in question had been allocated in a previous budget to go to the Waterfront project, which had to be halted due to the nature of the economy.
After Mr. Meli spoke, a Glen Cove resident took the podium to address him.
“With all due respect, Mr. Meli, I have heard you refer to yourself as ‘when you are the mayor’ and I find it very presumptuous and unfair to the voters,” she said.
Another point was raised by city council candidate David Nieri, who said that he is disappointed in the trend he found in the budget. He said that he created a spreadsheet in his spare time, and noticed a lot of increases, and not a lot of cutting. He said the council should be doing more to remain within the budget.
“You’re presenting me with information that I cannot respond to,” Mayor Suozzi said. “What items are you referring to, specifically?”
“My point is, in this economy, you need to tighten your belts and only spend where it’s necessary,” the man responded. “I just hope you all are happy with this budget.”
“We need specifics in order to address them,” Councilman Nick DiLeo reiterated. “If I was not happy with this budget, my name would not be on it.”
“We cannot change the times we’re in,” the mayor said. “We don’t have the reserves to fall back on.”
About the budget, Councilman Timothy Tenke said, “It’s the best budget we could’ve come up with, and we’re taxpayers too, so it affects all of us.”
Glen Cove resident and small business owner addressed the council about the MTA tax that came into effect earlier this year. She proposed a movement to repeal the tax on behalf of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce. The city council approved a resolution in opposition to this tax, which will be sent to state representatives.
Separately, during public comment at the several of the last city council meetings, council candidate Linda Darby has raised a point on recycling. She has addressed concern over a report put out by a group called Citizens Campaign for the Environment which gave the city of Glen Cove a “F” grade on their “report card” of Long Island municipalities’ recycling program. The Town of North Hempstead and Smithtown also received F grades and 46 percent of municipalities received below a C. The mayor responded that he felt the grading program relied too heavily on STOP days, saying he could never afford to hold the number they require, even though by advertising the event better, he had doubled the volume of participants. Ms. Darby stated that more should be done both to raise the grade and to educate people on recycling.