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Brookhaven ups funding for road repairs, snow removal

Brookhaven Town is increasing its snow removal budget

Brookhaven Town is increasing its snow removal budget for 2020. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Brookhaven officials on Tuesday adopted a $312.9 million budget that adds spending for road repaving and snow removal.

The 2020 budget, first proposed in September, faced little resistance from town board members or the public.

There were no speakers regarding the spending plan during the comment portion of the meeting.

The budget prepares for eventual closure of the town landfill while staying within the state property tax cap.

“This operating budget meets my three-point plan to end deficit spending, reduce outstanding debt and restore town surpluses,” Brookhaven Town Republican Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said after the meeting.

The supervisor said the town has eliminated $15.8 million in pension and $30.1 million in pipeline debt — money from loans taken for various purposes, including unspent funds from projects that were completed under budget.

In the budget, spending to resurface roads will go up by 50% — from $10 million to $15 million next year. 

Town officials also increased the snow removal budget by 1.2% and added $1.6 million to a reserve fund for the landfill, which is expected to close in 2024.

The budget was unanimously adopted by town board members.

“This budget continues [our] strong fiscal practices, holding spending below the tax cap and spending cap while improving services and increasing funds for road paving,” Brookhaven Town Republican Councilman Michael Loguercio said.

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, the only Democrat on the board, said she was pleased with the fiscal plan.

“With the funding allocated, we will be able to move forward with our land use plans in Stony Brook and Setauket and Port Jefferson Station,” she said adding there will also be work done at West Meadow Beach.

The property tax increase will not exceed 2%, officials said. Actual tax bills vary depending on whether residents live in or outside a village.

Overall spending would go up 2.9%, town officials said, adding there would be a net increase of one town employee. The townwide garbage district fee would remain flat at $350.

Next year's budget uses no reserves to cover spending, officials said.

Brookhaven Chief of Operations Matt Miner previously said there is $13 million in the landfill closure fund, including surpluses and revenue from tipping fees paid by contractors. Town officials plan to have about $22 million in the fund when the landfill closes to cover the costs of maintaining the facility after it is no longer in operation.

The capital budget includes $43.9 million worth of new projects, including $26.4 million for highway improvements, $5.2 million for parks and recreational facilities, $4.6 million for open space preservation, $4.4 million for landfill upgrades and $2.5 million for vehicle purchases and improvements at town facilities.

“This conservative budget is the product of a cooperative effort of the entire town board,” Brookhaven Town Republican Councilman Dan Panico said.

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