Brightwaters Village trustees bicker at budget meeting

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Tensions among members of the Brightwaters Village board erupted at a budget meeting Thursday.

The trustees voted 3-2 to raise taxes 7.5 percent in the proposed $2.8 million budget, and disagreed on garbage fees and whether a trustee had made unauthorized budget changes.

Trustee John Lawlor, Deputy Mayor Denise Gibson and Mayor Joseph McNulty voted for the tax increase, while trustees Joe McDermott and Jack Riordan voted against it.

The tax hike would mean an estimated $115 annual increase for the average household, according to the village.

The board will have a public hearing on the budget at 2 p.m. Saturday at Village Hall.

At the Thursday meeting, Riordan said Gibson made changes to the proposed budget without consulting the board. Gibson said she emailed the board the amendments she made last month and no one objected.

"Everyone had the opportunity to comment," she said.

"Are you the queen here?" Riordan said, adding that the entire board needed to vote on any trustee's amendments to the budget.

After the meeting, Gibson said she did not change the proposed budget but made suggestions to an alternate budget.

Riordan also said the village has been overcharging residents since 1996 a total of $3.4 million in sanitation fees.

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In response, Gibson said village attorney John Finnerty would look into whether Brightwaters was charging the right amount in sanitation fees.

Amid the bickering, the budget meeting was cut short after the vote to raise taxes.

"You just allowed us to accomplish absolutely nothing," Lawlor told Riordan.

The two then told each other to "shut up."

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