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Glen Cove City Council raises commercial, freezes residential taxes

Glen Cove City Council members and city staff

Glen Cove City Council members and city staff hold discussions on Tuesday night, July 21, 2015, at City Hall. Photo Credit: Newsday / David Olson

The Glen Cove City Council voted 4-2 Tuesday night to approve a 2016 budget that freezes the residential tax rate and raises the commercial rate 0.95 percent.

Councilman Joseph Capobianco said the budget is fiscally sound.

"The budget has a virtually zero percent tax increase when you factor in the residential and commercial aspects of it," he said.

Councilman Anthony Gallo, who is running for mayor in the Nov. 3 election, said every increase in commercial taxes makes it more difficult for existing businesses to survive and tougher for the city to attract new ones.

Under the budget, general-fund expenses will rise nearly 7 percent. Capobianco said most of that increase is the result of contractual obligations to employees. Gallo said the city should scale back salary increases for some nonunion employees and take other steps to trim the budget.

Gallo said the budget relies too much on uncertain revenue, such as $4.6 million city officials expect to receive from the sale of land for a giant waterfront redevelopment and from fees for the project.

"This isn't just me saying this," he said, pointing to last week's report from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that warned the city against counting on the $4.6 million and for, among other things, not fully budgeting for some expenses.

Capobianco said that not including the $4.6 million in expected waterfront-related revenue in the budget would have led to double-digit tax increases for residents and businesses, along with either deep spending cuts or reductions in city employees' salaries.

"I'm confident based upon what I've been told and what I've read that the sale will happen and the $4.6 million will be there," he said.

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