Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward Romaine has proposed canceling all town capital projects from 2009 and earlier that have not been planned or begun construction.
"The town has $667 million of debt," he said at a town board work session Thursday. "Twenty-five cents of every town dollar we spend goes to debt service."
Furthermore, the town has another $76 million in pipeline debt -- money that's been borrowed for proposed projects but not yet spent, he said.
"It does not mean these projects are dead. It means they're canceled," he said, adding that "we are trying to get a better handle on our debt situation."
The hundreds of proposed canceled projects include more than $27,000 for renovating the town animal shelter, more than $230,000 for upgrading Manorville Park, and more than $308,000 for Motts Pond remediation.
Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld protested, noting that government projects frequently take years to complete. "Things don't often move as fast as our constituents want them to move," he said. "Sometimes it takes us, God help us, more than three years."
Romaine said these projects have languished for more than three years and that council members can resubmit them for approval.
"My goal is to get us through the year without spending too much money and not hiring too many people so that we have to fire twice as many, at the end of the year, for the next budget," Romaine said.
The resolution is to be put on Tuesday's town board meeting agenda.
Romaine also proposed a resolution to change the proceedings of the bimonthly 5 p.m. town board meetings, with public comment starting about 5:15 p.m. after the consensus resolution agenda, and lasting until public hearings begin at 6:30 p.m.
After public hearings conclude, the public comment portion would resume, followed by the resolution agenda, Romaine said. Each commenter would receive three minutes to speak as long he submitted a comment card before 6:30 p.m.
"I want to listen to every member of the public before I cast a vote on a resolution," Romaine said.