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Glen Cove workers may lose jobs if council doesn't OK piercing the tax cap, mayor warns

Exceeding the state cap would be a first for the city, but the lack of millions in "one-shot revenue" has created a budget crunch that Mayor Tenke said could result in 10 to 20 layoffs.

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke, seen Feb. 20.

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke, seen Feb. 20. Photo Credit: Raychel Brightman

Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke said he will try again to get City Council approval to pierce the state property-tax cap, this time warning that he will have to resort to layoffs if the council doesn’t give him that authority.

“I don’t want to raise taxes,” Tenke said at Thursday’s City Council work session. But he said a 4.12 percent tax increase — more than double the tax cap of 1.8 percent for 2019 — is needed to balance the budget.

The council voted 6-1 on Aug. 28 against piercing the tax cap, with Tenke the sole vote in favor. State law allows municipalities to override the cap if they first vote to signal an intent to do so.

Tenke said the new request to pierce the tax cap is different because it comes after he made $2.8 million in cuts to the proposed budget.

“These are cuts across the board in every department,” Tenke said.

The council went into executive session Thursday night to view and discuss a list of employees who, the mayor said, may be laid off if the tax cap is not pierced. Ten to 20 employees could be let go, with the number depending on workers' salaries, Tenke said.

The council has never approved a tax increase above the cap.

A public hearing on the tax-cap proposal is scheduled at the start of Tuesday’s council meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The mayor said in an interview after the work session that the budget crunch arose because, unlike the past several years, the city will not be receiving millions of dollars in “one-shot revenue” from sources such as the Garvies Point development and will not transfer money out of the water fund to use for nonwater expenses.

Tenke originally planned for a vote on the tax cap at Tuesday’s meeting, but council members objected, saying they want to first review the mayor’s proposed budget, which hasn’t yet been released.

“Right now we’re kind of in the dark,” said Councilman Joseph Capobianco.

Councilman Kevin Maccarone said he needs to go through the budget to determine whether there are other potential cuts.

City Controller Sandra Clarson told council members she would send them a draft budget by Monday that includes revenue from the proposed 4.12 percent tax increase.

Tenke agreed to convene a special council meeting on the tax-cap vote for Oct. 2, immediately before the council work session scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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