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Glen Cove 2019 budget voted down, but enacted anyway under quirk in city law

The Glen Cove City Hall on Glen Street.

The Glen Cove City Hall on Glen Street.  Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Glen Cove City Council voted 5-1 against Mayor Timothy Tenke’s budget — but it was enacted anyway because of a quirk in city law.

The party-line vote Tuesday night — all five Republicans voted no; Democrat Marsha Silverman voted yes — came after the council approved a list of changes to the mayor’s original budget. Democrat Tenke cannot vote on the budget.

Among the changes was keeping the city attorney position as an outside consultant as the GOP majority wanted, instead of creating a full-time staff position, which is what Tenke proposed.

Despite the vote against the budget, it was enacted because the city charter states that if the council fails to approve the budget by the fourth Tuesday in October, it is considered adopted.

Tenke called it a “financially responsible budget” that increases the tax levy 1.8 percent and will raise taxes on the owner of a $540,000 home $82.97 a year.

“Painful cuts” were made to balance the budget, and “there were no salary increases for nonunion workers,” Tenke said.

Silverman said her GOP colleagues “showboated” by voting against the budget, knowing it would still be adopted.

Republican Councilman Kevin Maccarone said he voted no because the budget includes a $600,000 surplus while “we’re raising taxes and cutting a lot of community-based events.” Tenke said the city needs a surplus for unanticipated needs and that he used $2.1 million of a $2.7 million surplus to balance the budget.

Tenke said his city attorney proposal would have saved the city tens of thousands of dollars — although he said a problem would have been finding space for the attorney at City Hall. Current City Attorney Charles McQuair works out of his own law office.

Republican council members said that with benefits, a pension, the hiring of a secretary and other expenses, the proposal would have not saved money. McQuair, as an outside consultant, does not receive benefits.

A planned $200 increase in camp fees was scaled back to $100, putting the new fees at between $565 and $705. The city will no longer subsidize low-income campers.

Volunteers and supporters of Cove Animal Rescue, the nonprofit that runs the animal shelter, urged the council to restore the $6,000 cut from the $12,000 that funds the trap, neuter and release program to reduce the feral cat population.

Volunteer Janine Fakiris predicted a “big population explosion” of feral cats. Tenke praised the shelter’s work but said “these cuts were across the board.”

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