Mastic Beach delays budget vote

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Mastic Beach's budget debate has been adjourned after officials learned that proper notice had not been given for the hearing on the fiscal plan.

The budget process, scheduled to proceed at a new meeting on April 16, will not include village treasurer John Morris, who worked extensively on the $4.3 million proposal.

Officials at Wednesday night's budget meeting said Morris was amicably terminated from his post in the past week in a dispute involving health insurance.

Morris worked part time for six months, earning $75 an hour for about 10 hours of work every week; and Mayor Bill Biondi said he disagreed with Morris wanting health insurance coverage. Morris could not be reached for comment. He was replaced by deputy treasurer Jennifer Brojer.

Morris' removal came to light after a barrage of questions from newly elected village trustees Maura Spery and Bruce Summa, who will be sworn in Monday and sat in the audience.

The village board was set to adopt the budget -- which would have decreased the total municipal tax levy and frozen taxes -- when former Brookhaven Town Board member and former village trustee Carol Bissonette questioned the protocol.

She said the budget meeting's notice did not inform residents that copies of the budget were available at the village clerk's office, as required by state law.

She also said the budget meeting notice did not list the compensation of the mayor and board.

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Biondi moved to close the meeting after her comments, to "evaluate the budget."

Village attorney Brian Egan agreed with the decision. "The board reserved the decision on the budget due to procedural deficiencies," he said.


Despite the budget vote delay, Biondi said he doesn't expect it to be modified.


The 2014-15 spending plan would be $185,000 more than last year's $4.15 million budget, but the average homeowner's tax bill would remain the same at $533, which includes $300 for trash pickup.

"This year's budget is good, and it freezes taxes," Biondi said before the budget meeting.

This year's budget decreases the total municipal tax levy by $23,000 to $1.14 million as compared with last year, and it is under the state-mandated 2 percent cap.

Mastic Beach has an estimated $1 million in surplus.

The average village home is assessed at $1,800.

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