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Oyster Bay board to vote early on $298.8M budget for 2018

Oyster Bay Town Hall at 74 Audrey Ave.,

Oyster Bay Town Hall at 74 Audrey Ave., May 11, 2014. Credit: Aaron Zebrook

The Oyster Bay Town Board plans to vote on the proposed 2018 budget at a special meeting Tuesday, well ahead of the Nov. 20 deadline to adopt a spending plan.

As in 2015, which was also an election year, the budget is expected to be passed early.

The proposed budget includes spending $298.8 million on what officials call town purposes.

For the second year in a row the largest single expenditure would be debt service which at $98.2 million would be 32.8 percent of spending.

The proposed budget includes eliminating the town’s public safety department to save $1.3 million. Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino has proposed shifting some of the town’s public safety officers to Nassau County.

But the plan faces opposition from the Civil Service Employees Association Local 881. A representative of the union told the board that under its collective bargaining agreement, town employees would need to remain town employees. The proposal would require multiple approvals by town, county and state governments, as well as town and county unions.

Councilman Anthony Macagnone said Monday in a text message that he understood the budget the board will vote on includes the cut to public safety.

Jarvis Brown, president of the local union, said there had been no discussions with the town about the issue since the Oct. 17 board meeting.

“All we ask is that our contract be respected,” Brown said Monday.

The Oyster Bay public information office did not respond to questions about any changes to the budget since last week.

The 2018 budget proposal would reduce the tax levy by 0.5 percent, town officials have said, though the proposed tax levies have not been made public. Last year the Town Board voted to hike the tax levy by 11.5 percent in 2017 in order to reduce the town’s accumulated deficit and prevent a tax hike in the 2018 budget.

“Piercing the tax cap today ... allows the board to hold the line on taxes next year,” Oyster Bay Finance Director Robert Darienzo said at the Nov. 15, 2016, meeting at which that budget was adopted.

A plan to eliminate the accumulated deficit by the end of 2018 has been abandoned.

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