Brightwaters trustees authorize possible tax increase

Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012, Brightwaters Village Hall, shown on Aug. 4, 2012, houses the village court, board of trustees meetings, vehicle and traffic department, and more. Photo Credit: Brittany Wait

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The Brightwaters Board of Trustees may raise 2014 taxes by more than the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, officials said.

The board unanimously approved legislation Monday night that would allow it to raise taxes if it determines it needs to, though trustees cautioned that no decision has been made and no percentage of increase had been determined.

Trustees said the move was precautionary, because state law requires municipalities to pass a separate law in case they need to exceed the tax cap.

"It's an arrow in our quiver," said Trustee Robert W. Fischer.

Mayor Joseph A. McNulty said the board is facing economic pressure, including steadily rising state pension costs, as it prepares to approve the village's budget by the June 1 deadline.

The village paid the state $115,083 for pensions in December. In 1997, the village paid about $10,000, officials said.

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"I can't tell you tonight -- yes, we're going to raise the taxes; no we're not going to raise the taxes," said McNulty, who said he hasn't raised taxes for 13 years. "But I'll tell you it's a thin line.

"I personally would probably not raise the taxes, but then we can't pave the roads."

In other business, McNulty said a public meeting to address a recent state audit on the village's finances, which found the village has operated on a structural deficit for three years, would be scheduled for March 14 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.

The mayor had told Newsday the meeting would take place the day before, but said Monday he had "made a mistake."

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