City ratifies 2020 budget


After more than a month contention, Glen Cove City Mayor Timothy Tenke’s proposed $60 million budget for 2020 was officially ratified during a City Council meeting on Nov. 12.

Although the Republican-majority council voted 5-1 against the budget, with Democrat Marsha Silverman as the sole supporter, the budget would still go into effect as per the city’s charter, which states that if the city council fails to approve the budget by the fourth Tuesday in October, the budget would be considered adopted.

City Attorney Charles McQuair said that because the City Council had not approved amendments to the budget before November, the budget was incomplete and could not be officially adopted. With the council voting to amendments on Nov. 12, the budget could be officially adopted by default. This is Tenke’s second time having his budget approved by such a method under the Republican-majority council.

The budget would raise the property tax levy by 1.8 percent and include cuts to every department and no layoffs. The city would also have to borrow about $790,000 or more in order to pay off its scheduled termination pay.

The Republican council members were worried about conflicting numbers between the mayor and City Controller Sandra Clarson, who said the city would run out of money by April under the current budget. She urged the City Council to push any vote on the budget until after January. “We had these great concerns raised by the controller, and I truly hope I’m wrong,” Councilman Kevin Maccarone said.

Although McQuair declared the budget officially adopted during the city council meeting, Silverman said that the budget had already been legally ratified by the end of October, rendering the vote moot.

The City Council also addressed a rumor going around the city involving local resident’s access to the city’s vault. Residents alleged that Nancy Hawkins’ access to the vault was illegal and that she was unaccompanied. Hawkins refuted the rumors, adding that she was only at the vault to look at building and planning codes. Tenke confirmed that there was no personnel information in the vault and that Hawkins was escorted there. Glen Cove Police Department Detective Lieutenant John Nagle said that there was nothing criminal about the incident.

“She had permission to be there and nothing was taken out,” Tenke said. “Our policy is to normally not open the vault for the public, and that will be enforced.”

The City Council also approved, 5-0, for Tenke to seek special counsel from attorneys at Guercio & Guercio, LLP, at a rate of $250 per hour and $120 per hour for paralegals/legal interns. Tenke sought the special counsel to investigate the claims of harassment brought against him by Clarson and Parks and Recreation Director Darcy Belyea. Tenke and Silverman recused themselves from the vote.