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Monday, May 25, 2015
Senate OKs $12 million bond measure for Long Beach
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy N.Y. State Senate
State Sen. Dean Skelos said the bill would help Long Beach cover “extraordinary expenses” associated with Sandy.

In March, the city submitted a home rule request to the State Legislature to issue the bonds. Sandy caused an estimated $200 million in damage in Long Beach, and though the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to cover 90 percent of storm-related costs, the rest is usually split between the state and the municipality, potentially leaving Long Beach with a $10 million tab.

“Allowing the city to issue bonds would shift much of the burden off local taxpayers,” Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, who sponsored the Assembly bill, said in a statement.

City officials have pushed for the measure for more than a year, after uncovering what was initially a projected $10.25 million deficit for fiscal 2011-12. In May 2012, the City Council voted to submit a home rule request to the State Legislature seeking approval to issue the bonds.

A 10-year payment plan, which included a 7.9 percent tax increase, was incorporated into the budget last year, after city officials said they were given assurances that the legislation would pass. It passed in the Assembly, but Skelos and others in the Republican-led Senate opted not to approve requests for such borrowing, saying that municipalities should focus more on cutting costs.

City officials were forced to amend the budget shortly afterward, adding a 6.6 percent deficit-reduction surcharge for three years and bringing the total tax increase last year to 14.5 percent. After Sandy, however, Skelos and his colleagues agreed to revisit the legislation.

The bill’s passage means that the city can now spread its payments out over 10 years.

“This is good news for Long Beach taxpayers as we all recover from Superstorm Sandy,” City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement. “This will provide relief both for our fiscal and physical recovery. We thank Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Weisenberg for their leadership, and we look forward to working with the governor’s office and the state comptroller’s office as this process moves forward.”

But Councilman John McLaughlin said that the legislation is a year late, and added at Tuesday’s council meeting, “It would be like saying, I have a 2010 Volvo and I’m just about to pay it off.”

Comments

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MerlinJones

It is not a "policy question", but an integrity question. Integrity calls for reduction of the surcharge to give very-needed relief to the residents of Long Beach.

Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Report this
Sandeep

But how do you determine who these much need people are? Is it income based? Do we carve out everyone in a coop or condo above second floor? Do we carve out everyone with flood insurance whose house was not deemed ICC?

You cant afford to waive everyone from the surcharge. What about folks in rare houses that were no impacted? What about folks who bought after Sandy?

Maybe it should be just folks who received the Max $31,900 from FEMA on their primary residence who have AGI under 100K. Also do we include landlords who dont live in Long Beach. What about commercial properties? Not all stores were equally impacted. Some such as a hardware or plumbing store actually made money off Sandy. Some had flood insurance some did not.

Also you are just kicking the can down the road by waiving surcharge. Long term Long Beach would better off doing a one time surcharge to raise the $12 million than issuing bonds. Bond yields have shot up last few days and taking long term bonds just sticks you folks with higher taxes for years to come. There is no easy solution.

Part of problem has nothing to do with Sandy, Long Beach did not prepare for a rainy day. Look at Atlantic Beach the 7-1-2013 tax came out recently and because of Sandy taxes are only going up 1%. Why, if you read their letter on Sandy related taxes, Fema covered 90%. AB has a surplus budget of which will pay for remaining 9% of damage and residents will take a hit in a lump sum due July 1% to pay remaining 1%. Yep they go less damage. But being in good financial shape with adequate reserve funds would have spared Long Beach a lot of pain in Sandy.

Friday, June 21, 2013 | Report this
MerlinJones

Sandeep -- the city council said the surcharge would be reduced or eliminated if the financining went through. it went through. that is my point, only. by the way a new bond issue is coming to pay the police.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 | Report this
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