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Brookhaven pols to LIPA: Reconsider $3.37B budget

Brookhaven Town Hall is pictured in an undated

Brookhaven Town Hall is pictured in an undated photo. Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

Brookhaven Town Board members have asked the Long Island Power Authority board of trustees to reconsider a $3.37 billion budget that would hike power rates for three years.

In a letter to LIPA trustees, the town board said the utility “continues to overcharge customers for fuel,” comparing LIPA rates with prices for crude oil and natural gas.

“Our region is still in the depths of a recession and many residents are struggling to pay their bills and feed their families,” said the letter, signed by all seven town board members. “This rate hike is unwise and detrimental to taxpayers and both LIPA and PSEG-Long Island must be held accountable.”

The LIPA board voted 5-2 last week, with one abstention, to approve the budget, which includes the first of three annual rate hikes. Trustees Suzette Smookler and Matthew Cordaro opposed the budget, and Trustee Jeff Greenfield abstained; all three cited concerns regarding Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s LIPA Reform Act.

LIPA officials have said the rate increase is needed for system improvements and should be offset by expected natural gas cost reductions.

The Brookhaven letter also said LIPA fails to pay “sufficient” property taxes on their plants, referring to tax disputes between the utility and taxing districts such as the Village of Port Jefferson.

“The Brookhaven Town Board works tirelessly to hold the line on taxes and keep spending low for our constituents,” the town board said. “We ask that the Long Island Power Authority Board of Trustees does the same.”

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