Muttontown Mayor Julianne Wesley Beckerman said she has no plans to step down after her arrest last week on tax fraud charges.
“This is an unpaid position, and I work really hard at the village,” Beckerman said after Wednesday night’s Muttontown Village Board meeting, the first since her arrest. “I stand by the job I’ve done here for more than a decade.”
Beckerman and her husband, Adam Beckerman, are facing seven felony charges for allegedly not filing state personal tax returns for tax years 2010 to 2014, despite, prosecutors say, earning more than $4.5 million during that time. If convicted, they face a maximum of 5 to 15 years in prison.
Their Manhattan-based attorney, Robert Altchiler, entered not guilty pleas on their behalf on April 6 in District Court in Hempstead. He said April 6 that “you’ll see that efforts were undertaken to try to comply. There were filings made with the state.”
Beckerman was first elected mayor in 2006 and most recently was re-elected in 2014 on the slate of the Concerned Taxpayers Party.
Village Trustee Carl Juul-Nielsen said Thursday that he doesn’t believe the mayor should resign.
“She has had an impeccable tenure at the village,” he said, adding that the charges against her have “nothing to do with” her job as mayor.
Trustee Julie Albernas agreed.
“Every decision she has made has been in the best interests of the community,” she said. “No personal gain, no self-interest. She makes hard decisions for the village.”
Trustee Steven Fine said he doesn’t “think it’s fair to comment on any of this stuff until it goes through the process and we find out actually what has happened.”
Beckerman presided over a meeting Wednesday in which the board voted 5-0 to adopt the 2017-18 fiscal year budget, which goes into effect June 1. Two trustees were absent.
The tax rate will increase to $1.573 per $100 of assessed value, from $1.54.
“I do think it’s a fiscally responsible budget,” Beckerman told the more than 60 people packed into the board chambers. “It is not only the first increase in the tax rate in six years, but it is barely a $33 increase for every million dollars” of a home’s market value.
The tax levy will increase to $2,992,159, up from $2,899,550, with an additional $309,195 levy for residents served by the East Norwich Fire Company.