Islip residents wade in on pool closures
Another wave of the aftermath of Islip's 2013 budget cuts was felt Tuesday as residents decried the closure of two of the town's public pools this summer.
Funding for the pool at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and the pool at Casamento Park in West Islip were cut in the finalized budget, when the board trimmed its proposed tax increase from 65 to 28 percent.
Speakers ranging from longtime northern Islip residents and community activists to a representative from state Assemb. Phil Ramos' office spoke against the closure at Tuesday's town board meeting and complained that the public wasn't informed. Bay Shore resident Mary Reid said residents would only have known had they read the finalized budget closely.
Supervisor Tom Croci said the pools are temporarily closed in part because the town is short on cash to implement much-needed repairs. "We had assigned some capital money for that, but unfortunately due to the hurricane [Sandy], when we went through the budget we had to put those monies into repairs," he said, adding that federal officials have not yet reimbursed the town for storm expenditures.
But Brentwood Association of Concerned Citizens co-founder Lenny Tucker said that's not viable for many families. "I have a 12-year-old; I work during the day," Tucker said, "Who's going to take my child to that other pool?"