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After two rejections, Glen Cove City Council votes 4-3 to increase water rates 

Mike Colangelo, Water Service Foreman at Glen Cove,

Mike Colangelo, Water Service Foreman at Glen Cove, takes a sampling from a drinking-water well to send to Pace Analytical Services, Inc., at a water facility control room in Glen Cove, on Jan. 25. Credit: Newsday/Yeong-Ung Yang

The Glen Cove City Council voted Tuesday to increase water rates 15 percent, after twice rejecting previous water-hike proposals.

The 4-3 vote came more than four months after Mayor Timothy Tenke first proposed an increase.

The council in June voted down Tenke's resolution for a 25 percent increase. Tenke then cast the deciding vote against Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck’s compromise of a 15 percent increase.

The mayor introduced the 15 percent proposal Tuesday, saying it is less than he believes is necessary but “a nice start.” The increase, the first since 2004, is set to go into effect on Monday. It will increase rates an average of $3 per quarter for residential customers, according to the water department.

Tenke said the rate increase is needed to upgrade the water system’s aging infrastructure and for projects to remove the contaminant Freon 22 from water wells.

Councilman Joseph Capobianco voted yes after saying “we were significantly able to reduce the mayor’s initial proposal.”

The mayor’s first formal proposal, in June, was a 35 percent hike.

Panzenbeck said after voting yes that “it’s just a shame we didn’t pass the [increase in] water rates this past summer. We would have had a good chunk of money already in the fund.”

Councilwoman Marsha Silverman voted against the increase, saying that the amount of additional revenue needed still isn’t clear because the 2019 city budget hasn’t yet been finalized.

“I want to make sure we raise it the minimal amount,” she said.

In the past few years, money from the water fund has been transferred to the general fund, to pay for general city expenses. The 2018 budget calls for nearly $1 million to be transferred to the general fund. Tenke, who took office Jan. 1 and is working on his first budget, said he will not continue that practice in the 2019 budget.

Councilman Kevin Maccarone, who voted against the rate increase, said that with that much money staying in the water fund in 2019, “nowhere near 15 percent” of an increase is needed, even with the additional Freon-related and other expenses.

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