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Oyster Bay Dems: 11.5% tax levy increase pays for ‘corruption’

Oyster Bay Democrats said Thursday residents’ are paying for “corruption” in their tax bills which are due Aug. 10.

“Town of Oyster Bay residents, me included, have been in extreme shock since receiving our tax bills,” Marc Herman, Democratic candidate for town supervisor, said at news conference in Syosset on Thursday. “Business as usual in the Town of Oyster Bay is having devastating effects on our local residents.”

The Town Board last year passed an 11.5 percent tax levy increase for 2017.

The general fund levy, which is one tax line paid by all property owners, increased to $67.7 million in 2017 from $39.8 million in 2016, a 70 percent increase, budget documents show. The general fund tax rate on single-family homes went up to $57.372 per $100 of taxable value in 2016 from $32.128, a 78.5 percent increase, budget documents show.

Noting the indictments of former Supervisor John Venditto, other former town officials and contractors on corruption charges, Herman said the tax hike was “caused by more than just mismanagement, it’s caused by willful neglect and old fashioned corruption.”

The 2017 budget includes $92 million to pay debt service — 32 percent of the $284.1 million budget. Herman said those high debt costs were paying for “reckless, irresponsible, outrageous borrowing.”

Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin said in an email that Herman and Nassau county executive candidate Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), who also spoke at the news conference, “either can’t read a budget or are flat out liars and manipulators.”

“As Supervisor, Joe Saladino already announced that taxes will be frozen and not go up,” Nevin said.

Reached late Thursday, Curran said that Nassau taxpayers “have been paying a corruption tax for too long. As Nassau’s next county executive, I will end the culture of corruption and make our county accountable and worthy of trust.

Saladino, who was appointed supervisor on Jan. 31, has yet to propose his first budget. The budget is due by Sept. 30 and a vote on the final budget is due by Nov. 20.

Nevin said that Herman was responsible for high taxes during his years on the Syosset school board.

“When it comes to abusing taxpayers’ wallets, Marc Herman takes the cake,” Nevin said.

Nevin, who was hired in July as the town spokesman at a $163,000 a year salary, said he had responded on behalf of Saladino’s campaign, not as town spokesman, on his own time.

“I’m a volunteer and sent it from my private email, while on my lunch break, because it’s political in nature,” Nevin said in an email.

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