Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke presented the City Council this week with a $60.4 million budget for 2019, one that eliminates funds for summer fireworks and music events.
Tenke is proposing to eliminate $80,000 in spending for Fourth of July fireworks, Downtown Sounds, a weekly summer music event, and a series of free summertime movie nights.
Former council member Tip Henderson decried the move during a public hearing at Tuesday’s council meeting, saying the events “are becoming a fabric of our community.”
“I would encourage you and the rest of the council to try to find a way to save some, if not all, of those things,” he said.
Tenke acknowledged that “it does not make me popular to take these things away … but I’m under a very, very tight budget here. People are not getting raises, people are not getting certain things.”
The mayor said he hopes private donors will help fund the events. The Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District helps pay for Downtown Sounds, so that event may remain in a scaled-down form, he said.
Tenke originally allocated $80,000 for the events but cut out the spending once it became clear the council would not support a tax levy increase above the 1.8 percent that is in the current budget proposal, said city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello.
Former Mayor Reginald Spinello, whom Tenke narrowly defeated in the November election, spent 25 minutes criticizing the budget and assailing Tenke for saying it was a response to a difficult financial situation.
“I’ve left you a clean slate and you seem to think you were left a mess,” Spinello said, pointing to a $2.7 million surplus and state comptroller’s office reports that indicate increased financial stability during Spinello’s tenure.
Councilwoman Marsha Silverman, the only Democrat on the seven-member council other than Tenke, said the administration “started this year with a gap of four to five million dollars which had to be covered” because of a drop in the type of “one-shot revenue” that Spinello used to balance budgets.
“That’s why tightening our belts is so important,” she said.
City council members will discuss the budget at the Oct. 16 council work session, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor conference room of City Hall. A continuation of Tuesday’s public hearing on the budget is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at City Hall, after which the council is expected to vote on whether to approve the proposal.