Written by Gabriella Iannetta Tuesday, 06 November 2012 09:02
The Glen Cove City Council meeting took place Tuesday, Oct. 23 to vote on the upcoming budget. The revised budget had caused concern for being a financial risk, but Mayor Ralph Suozzi confidently explained his budget plans. All of city council voted Tuesday night to approve spending that will add $56 to the average homeowner’s annual tax bill.
Residents expressed concern at the meeting about Glen Cove’s current deficit, and Mayor Suozzi’s future plans to borrow from the state. Charlie Bozzello asked the mayor if borrowing money would be wise due to Glen Cove’s current debt, and how the city will ever reach economic stability if the city continues to borrow money. The mayor explained that the Glen Cove Police Department will see about 13 police officers retiring this year, an unusually high number, he said, adding that it would be impossible to not borrow. The mayor went on to say that the money borrowed will be dedicated to paying for these retirement plans and that retirement plans “would’ve been a good idea to start 30 years ago.” Roughly 12.3 percent of the budget will go to retirement plans for police.
Councilman Gallo was also quick to respond to Mr. Bozzello’s concern ad said that he had worked closely with the Mayor Suozzi to assure that they find a surplus at the end of the year; to not only pay off the first year of state interest, but also a substantial percentage of the following principal costs from state loans. In addition, Mayor Suozzi strongly emphasized that the city’s police department has been doing a tremendous job, along with the fire department and hospital.
“When you call the police, whether it’s 2 minutes or 7 minutes, they are there. We have four ambulance drivers, on call 24 hours a day, and they will be there when you call.”
The mayor stated that they have not fired any city employee due to debt, and will continue to focus on getting out of the current deficit.
Regarding the Glen Cove Golf Course, Mayor Suozzi said, “We have been working long and hard on this, lots of overtime. I have even sat with the manager of the golf course and found $10,000 the city can be saving.”
It was also announced that the city has plans to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, by delivering literature to all residents, teaching young children in the schools, and also to seek recycling business from other local institutions like the Avalon, which currently do not use Glen Cove’s recycling services. The name of the game is to “turn trash into cash,” said the mayor. The project is estimated to create $105,000 in revenue.
The 2013 budget totals $46,679,913, up 0.085 percent from this year’s $46,640,107 and falls within the state cap on tax levy increases. The tax rate increase for residential taxpayers is 1.91 percent and 1.70 percent for commercial businesses, with a total tax levy of $29,254,584. “Rome was not built in one day,” expressed Councilman Gallo before submitting his vote, “This is a realistic budget.”