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Hearing on 2021 budget, which pierces tax levy

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At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, a public hearing was held about piercing the tax levy in order to meet the $64,265,670 budget for 2021, which included raises in salaries for personnel as per union contracts and cuts in city employees. 

The property tax cap, established for fiscal years beginning in 2012, limits the city’s ability to increase the property tax levy, meaning the allowable levy growth factor for fiscal year 2021 would be limited to 1.56 percent, bringing in a revenue of $200,000.

If the city were to not pierce the tax levy, there would be a budget hole of approximately $2.3 million.

In front of Glen Cove City Council sits the 2021 budget and the piercing of that property tax cap by 8.48 percent in residential real estate tax rates (per $100) and by 3.88 percent in commercial real estate tax rates (per $100.) Extra monies brought in by this increase would supplement the gap between appropriations and revenues, city officials say.   

“It’s only the portion of your taxes that goes to the city [that will be impacted,]” said City of Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke. “This does not reflect the larger portion, or the school portion, of the tax. It doesn’t impact the Nassau County or the library tax. This is only 28 percent of your entire tax bill that comes to the city.”

Tenke explained that for an owner of a $500,000 home, they would pay an extra $260 for the year in their taxes to the city. He said that while he knows that this is no small ask, this increase will help get the city back on track.

Citing a presentation available under the city website’s finance tab, the Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Office found that between January 2013 and December 2016, the council has not had a structurally balanced budget. The council has relied on non-recurring revenue, debt and interfund transfers to balance budgets and meet normal operating expenditures.

“When you’re using non-recurring, one-shot revenues to fill those holes, that does not help us the following the following year,” said City of Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke. “This is the reason why we’re here. We can no longer kick the can down the road.”

City employee cuts and raises as per union contract 

City Controller Michael Piccirillo explained that he and the mayor went line by line through the budget to make certain eliminations, including a cut of $867,000 in new hires and salary increase requests made by city departments. “The mayor decided we were going to put a freeze into effect and not incur any of those additional costs,” Piccirillo said.

Then, after cutting another $2.1 million in costs, Piccirillo said, there was still a hole in the budget. “We had to look at the potential of cutting positions,” he said.

Among the cuts in this year’s budget was Parks and Recreation director and a laborer, a golf course administrator, a food service helper for the Glen Cove Senior Center, a laborer from the Public Works Road department, a personnel clerk and a finance clerk.

The mayor said that the city, upon approval of the 2021 budget by the council, plans on consolidating the park management aspect of the Parks and Recreation Department to the Department of Public Works and recreation to the Youth Bureau.

Meanwhile, a good portion of city employees, including the Youth Bureau director,  received raises in their salaries in the 2021 budget. “No one’s getting a raise,” Tenke said. “They’re only being compensated for additional work that they will be doing.”

What Glen Cove residents are saying

Many Glen Cove residents were not satisfied with the piercing of the lax levy proposed in the 2021 budget.

“While I know the city is in heavy debt and has been for a while, trying to make big dents in debt while people are losing their jobs and businesses are closing is a terrible idea,” Glen Cove resident Alexander Papas told the Glen Cove Herald Gazette. “Easy to tell someone that the increase will only be a couple hundred bucks when your salary hasn’t been touched.”

In regards to cutting employees while giving others raises in their salary, residents said that they are simply disappointed.

The public hearing on the matter will remain open until Oct. 27. For more information about the proposed 2021 budget visit www.glencove-li.us/budget-finance/