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15 percent water-rate hike may be on tap in Glen Cove

Mayor Timothy Tenke said a rate hike - the first since 2004 - is needed to remove the contaminant Freon 22 from water wells and to fund upgrades to the city's aging water infrastructure.

Glen Cove City Hall on Glen Street. as

Glen Cove City Hall on Glen Street. as seen on Sept. 23, 2015. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke said he is open to supporting a smaller water-rate increase than he wants but warned it could mean additional rate hikes next year.

Tenke said on Thursday that he would introduce a 20 percent increase in water rates at Tuesday’s city council meeting. But on Monday, the council agenda showed only a resolution by Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck to raise rates 15 percent.

Tenke could not be reached for comment Monday as to whether he still plans to propose a 20 percent increase but said Thursday that he would reluctantly back a 15 percent increase if a 20 percent hike could not pass. On June 26, Tenke cast the deciding vote against Panzenbeck’s previous attempt to increase rates by 15 percent.

At last Tuesday’s council work session, four of the seven council members opposed the mayor’s 20 percent proposal. On June 26, the council voted down Tenke’s plan for a 25 percent rate increase.

Tenke said a rate hike — the first since 2004 — is needed to pay for millions of dollars in projects to remove the contaminant Freon 22 from water wells and to fund upgrades to the city’s aging water infrastructure. A 20 percent increase would mean residential customers would on average pay about $16 more a year for water, and commercial customers would pay an average of about $85 more, he said.

Councilman Kevin Maccarone said in an interview that the proposed 20 percent increase is “not necessary. We have the money to cover” water-related expenses.

Maccarone, who said he would only support an increase of 5 percent, added that, if necessary, the city could increase rates in future years.

But Tenke said the city doesn’t have the money to fund improvements. He said Thursday that the 20 percent hike, which he called a “compromise,” is to prevent a massive rate increase in a few years.

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