Glen Cove's $64.7 million 2022 budget increases the tax levy by 0.4% while keeping rates for residential property owners the same and reducing rates on commercial property.
The budget, which the City Council approved 6-0 at its meeting last Tuesday, is starkly different from the 2021 fiscal plan. Last year, two council members voted against the budget, which hiked the tax levy by 6.8% and eliminated eight jobs as Glen Cove faced reduced state and county aid due to the pandemic.
Mayor Timothy Tenke, who abstained from voting as required by the city charter, said at the meeting that he believed history will show "this is a very good budget. It’s turning the ship. We are going to be headed in the right direction."
The city anticipates state and Nassau County aid — both slashed in the current-year budget due to the pandemic — to be restored, Tenke said in an Oct. 12 budget presentation. State aid in 2022 is expected to be $2.8 million, a $568,000 increase from 2021, with county aid next year estimated at $1.6 million, a $418,000 increase, Tenke said.
The increase in the tax levy — even as property tax rates fall or stay the same — is in part due to the expiration of a payment in lieu of taxes [PILOT] agreement that is returning an apartment building to the tax rolls next year.
Councilwoman Marsha Silverman, who voted against the 2021 budget, said 2022's is "fairly reasonable."
"We are hiring back a number of positions that were vacant or laid off last year and we're providing financing for some previously underfunded areas, like crossing guards and auxiliary police who do a great service to our community."
Silverman said she was concerned that the city doesn’t have a five-year financial plan to prepare for future expenses and revenues.
"Budgeting should not be a once-a-year activity," Silverman said.
Councilman Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, who also voted against the budget last year, praised city Comptroller Michael Piccirillo for his work on the 2022 budget. Stevenson-Mathews said the city needs to be careful about how PILOTs are given out.
"That PILOT coming back on board that's making a big difference," he said.
PILOTs are used as an incentive to attract development by reducing the property tax burden on companies that create or preserve jobs. They are often controversial: Critics contend they can be costly tax breaks given to companies that don’t need them; supporters argue that projects benefiting the community would never get built without the incentives.
Stevenson-Mathews said bad PILOT agreements "are killing us."