The Glen Cove City Council voted Tuesday night to drop a proposal giving officials the authority to pierce the state property-tax cap, after Mayor Timothy Tenke presented council members with a tentative budget that stays within the state limit.
“We were able to cover the revenue for which we were short,” Tenke said after a four-minute special meeting called specifically to vote on the piercing of the cap.
Tenke said last month that he planned to raise the property tax levy 4.12 percent, more than double the 1.8-percent state limit, but he faced resistance from council members.
The new $60,369,518 budget for 2019 increases the levy 1.8 percent. On a house assessed at $540,000, taxes will increase 2.64 percent, or $82.97 a year, Tenke said in an interview Wednesday. For a commercial property of the same value, taxes would go up 0.27 percent, or $23.13 annually.
Tenke said last month that layoffs may have been necessary if the city did not pierce the tax cap, but he said additional fees and cuts — plus further reducing the budget surplus carried over from 2018 — made it possible to avoid job cuts.
Tenke had wanted to keep $700,000 of the $2.7 million surplus as a reserve fund for unanticipated expenses, but council members urged him to further reduce that surplus to balance the budget. He is now proposing a reserve fund of $594,000.
Tenke said some fees will go up, including, for example, the cost for utilities to open up city streets for underground work. Those fees haven't been increased for 22 years and will rise from $275 to between $1,500 and $2,500, which Tenke said is "more in line with the surrounding communities."
Council members did question some of the mayor’s new proposals, including one to reduce the recreation budget by $100,000 by increasing camp fees by $200. New fees would range between $665 and $805.
They also challenged a plan to raise $18,000 from a new nonresident fee for Pryibil Beach. Parks and recreation director Darcy Belyea said “there is not enough beach space or not enough parking space for our own residents.” Tenke said Wednesday that he may withdraw that plan.
Although council members received the budget Sept. 28, it won’t be available to the public or media until Monday.
A public hearing Tuesday on the budget is part of the regular council meeting that begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. There will be another public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23, after which the council is scheduled to vote on the spending plan.