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City Holds Public Hearing On Proposed Budget

Final public hearing will be held at the Oct. 23 Glen Cove City Council meeting before adopting the budget

At the Oct. 9 Glen Cove City Council meeting, the first public hearing was held to discuss the proposed budget for 2013. The hearing will remain open before the council votes, and one more public hearing will be held on Oct. 23.

The proposed budget would increase taxes in Glen Cove 1.94 percent next year, a figure that Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi said was trimmed down from the original 7.42 percent he received from the city controller, Sal Lombardi. He said that, after going over the numbers with Lombardi, the budget he first presented to the council was 2.81 percent and they worked hard together to get it under 2 percent. The percentage represents a $558,087 increase in real estate taxes. The proposed budget plan totals $46,746,289, an increase of $106,182 or 0.2 percent from this year’s budget.

In 2012, the city received 63 percent of its revenues from real property taxes, 24 percent from general fund revenues, 7 percent from water rents, 3 percent from recreation fees and 2 percent from police fees. For 2013, the only projected changes are from real property taxes, which would increase to 65 percent, and police fees, which decrease to 1 percent of the total revenue. In the expenditures category for budget appropriations, government support would increase to 12 percent from 10 percent; public safety would decrease to 23 percent from 24 percent; culture and recreation would decrease from 10 percent to 9 percent; home and community service would decrease from 11 percent to 8 percent; fringe benefits would decrease to 21 percent from 23 percent, and the areas of debt service (19 percent) and transportation (5 percent) would remain the same.

Republican Committee Chair Paul Meli asked several questions about the budget, and also asked for clarification about how the budget process works.

It was explained by the mayor and the controller that each department head presents their budget and adjustments are made by the controller after discussing them with each department. The mayor and controller then have a discussion and the mayor presents that draft to the council. They then work to reduce it even more.

“There were requests made that we took out,” Suozzi said, referring to some of the ways they were able to lower the budget.

Meli suggested that the process begin earlier in the year, to give the taxpayers a chance to process the numbers and give their input.

Councilman Reggie Spinello said, “We have another pre-council meeting, and another council meeting…I’m going to really look at the numbers, I want to try to get it even lower – but I want it to be realistic…we’ve got to dive in deep and look for savings.”

Mayor Suozzi agreed they would work hard to get it even lower, adding, “When we lower the budget unrealistically, we throw a deficit into the mix. If we can get it lower, we will.”

The proposed budget is available for the public to view on the city’s website, www.glencove-li.us/, under the budget and finance section.