Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke’s proposed 2021 budget would bust the tax cap with a 7.9% tax levy increase as one-shot revenues used in recent years have dried up.
Tenke’s $64.2 million budget proposal would increase the tax levy to $33.5 million from $31 million. The budget would also eliminate the parks and recreation department, with the department of public works and youth bureau taking over its functions.
From 2013 through 2016, "the council was relying on nonrecurring revenues, debt and interfund transfers to balance the budget and to meet just normal operating expenditures," Tenke said during a budget presentation Tuesday at City Hall. From 2014 through 2018, the city relied on one-shots totaling $13 million to keep taxes from growing as fast as expenses, according to a Power Point presentation Tenke went through during the livestreamed meeting.
"We can no longer kick the can down the road," Tenke said.
More than half of those one-shots, $7.3 million, came from the sale of waterfront property where the $1 billion Garvies Point development is rising. Large development projects also helped the city coffers with nonrecurring building permits totaling $4.1 million from 2014 through 2018.
"We had property that was sold ... to fill the holes in our budget" where city expenses were going up and revenue from taxes stayed the same, Tenke said.
Under the budget proposal, a homeowner with a house assessed at $500,000 would see their annual property taxes increase by $260.
The city anticipates losing $769,378 in state and county aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hurt economically sensitive revenue such as sales taxes that get passed down to local municipalities.
Several residents called into the meeting to criticize the tax hike. One caller, whose name was unclear on the audio, said he was surprised that during "this crazy" time the city would raise taxes so steeply.
"To just blow it out of the water like that while people are trying to survive right now while business is going under is just absolutely ridiculous," the caller said.
Eliminating the parks and recreation department means the department director position will be eliminated. The director, Darcy Belyea, has a 2020 salary of $132,744, according to the budget. Belyea filed a harassment complaint against the city last year that was found to be "unfounded and/or unactionable" by an outside legal firm earlier this year. Tenke said the elimination of her position was not related to her complaint.
"It's strictly a financial decision," Tenke said in an interview. "She’s one of the highest-paid directors that we have, and financially it makes sense to consolidate these types of departments."
Belyea declined to comment.