Brightwaters mulls tax hike to fund road fixes

The Brightwaters board of trustees is considering a 15 percent tax hike to fund repairs of the village's aging roadways.

Brightwaters Mayor Joseph A. McNulty said the board is reviewing several possibilities to boost the village's coffers, as it faces increasing pressure from rising pension costs and residents frustrated with potholed roads.

The 15 percent hike, proposed in a planning document by Village Clerk-Treasurer Christine O'Shea, would bring in an estimated $187 per household annually, officials said.

McNulty, who often touts the fact that the village has not raised taxes in the past 13 years, said he's noncommittal on a tax increase.

"Once you raise the taxes you're on a slippery slope," he said.

The board this month unanimously approved legislation allowing the village to pierce the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, clearing the way for a tax increase.

Trustee Robert W. Fischer said a tax increase would be "good for the long term of the village. I think it's unmistakable what the conclusion is." The board is also considering a proposal from the planning board to increase permit fees.

The board said the village's fees haven't increased in the past decade and the increases would bring the village more in line with other jurisdictions. For example, the fees would increase to $50 from $25 for a fence permit, and a building permit would rise to $150 from $75.

"We should charge what others are charging in this day and age," McNulty said.

Trustee Tim Cox disagreed.

"It doesn't make sense to me," Cox said. "It's just going to make people mad. It seems to me we're nickeling-and-diming people."

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