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Glen Cove approves 2017 city budget with slight tax increase

The Glen Cove City Council Tuesday night voted 5 to 1 to approve a 2017 city budget that will add $48 to the annual tax bill of the average city resident.

“It’s a very strong budget,” Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck said after the meeting. “There is a very small increase [in taxes] with no cuts in services.”

In addition, Panzenbeck touted how the budget continues to pay down the city’s yearslong debt. The budget projects the debt will drop to $54 million at the end of 2017, compared with $62 million when Mayor Reginald Spinello took office in January 2014.

Councilman Roderick Watson voted against the budget, citing in an interview after the meeting the uncertainty of revenue from the giant Garvies Point waterfront project. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli also has expressed concern about relying too much on that projected revenue.

The budget forecasts more than $3.8 million in revenue from the expected close on the sale of land for Garvies Point to Uniondale-based developer RXR Glen Isle Partners. The city also is expecting about $1.6 million in building fees from the project in 2017, Spinello said. RXR is planning to build 1,110 housing units, parks, stores, offices, marinas and other amenities.

Spinello said the deal is expected to close in November.

“I’ve been told for the last 10 months the sale was going to happen,” Watson said, referring to when he first took office as a councilman.

Spinello has repeatedly said the city would have had to increase taxes by a double-digit percentage if the 2016 and 2017 budgets didn’t rely on Garvies Point revenue. Watson said depending so much on that yet-to-be-realized revenue is too risky.

The budget vote came without discussion.

The $79.7 million budget increases the city tax levy by 1.5 percent, to nearly $29.8 million. This year’s state-mandated tax cap is 0.68 percent, but last year, the tax levy fell nearly 2.7 percent, permitting the 1.5 percent increase this year, city controller Jeffrey Nogid said.

Spinello emphasized that even though residents’ tax bills will rise, their tax rate will fall 1.34 percent, because the assessed value of property in the city rose.

Meanwhile, owners of commercial property will see their taxes drop. Commercial taxes will fall by $464 for property valued at $1 million.

Glen Cove is required by a state-mandated formula to fund its tax-levy increase with a rise in residential taxes and a decrease in commercial taxes, a state tax official said.


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