For 2013, the Huntington Town board Thursday adopted a $181.2 million operating budget and $8.6 million capital budget, and the controversial hike was eliminated along with raises for the town board's four part-time members.
The cost of parking in the Long Island Rail Road station's garages and surface lots will go from $50 to $75 a year, far less than the $600 annually proposed in the preliminary budget. The nonresident fee to park there will go from $50 to $150 a year; the daily parking fee will go from $5 to $10.
Fares for a single adult ride on the Huntington Area Rapid Transit bus system will go from $1.25 to $2; rides for the elderly will go from 50 cents to 75 cents, and student fares from 75 cents to $1.25.
The adopted budget is $500,000 less than the preliminary budget and represents a 0.83 percent increase in the town's total tax, about $19 a year for the average homeowner.
For the first time, the entire board, including the town supervisor, and the other full-time elected officials, highway superintendent, receiver of taxes, town clerk, and employees of Local 342 of the Long Island Public Service Employees Union, will pay a percentage of their health care costs.
Also, the tipping fee for residential and commercial waste disposal at the resource recovery facility will rise from $75 to $80 a ton.
"I'm happy with this budget; it's a realistic plan that balances responsible spending with maintaining necessary services," Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said after the special budget meeting.
Petrone said he is working on an agreement with the Civil Services Employees Association that should avoid layoffs.
The budgets were approved 3-2, with board members Mark Mayoka and Gene Cook voting no.
After the meeting, Petrone said he thought Mayoka and Cook used the budgets as a "political football" to advance personal agendas.
Mayoka disputed Petrone's assessment.
"It's unfair for him to make that comment when he controls the budget process and gives it to us piecemeal . . ." he said.
Referring to taxpayers' interest, Cook said, "That is my responsibility as a council member for the next three years."