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Croci: Taxes, fees, furloughs possible

Islip Town Supervisor, Tom Croci, at Newsday's conference

Islip Town Supervisor, Tom Croci, at Newsday's conference room in Melville. (Apr. 20, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

New taxes and fees and voluntary employee furloughs are being considered in order to close the Town of Islip's looming $26 million deficit, Supervisor Tom Croci said.

"Everything is on the table," as the town's budget task force mulls possible cuts, including layoffs and increases in taxes and fees, Croci said during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters at Town Hall on Friday.

Before asking more from the "overburdened taxpayer," he said, the town is also considering raising revenue through land sales and consolidating office space. "We have to look at every dime the way we all look at it at home," said Croci, a Republican, who conceded closing the deficit will be "extremely difficult."

"There's not an endless supply of money," he said. "There's no money machine."

Neither local Democratic Party officials nor union representatives returned calls for comment.

Croci said initiating a fee for nonresident parking permits could be among the fees proposed, though he declined to specify other possibilities.

Siphoning from the town's reserve fund is not an option, Croci said, because the balance is low and further dilution could hurt the town's Aa1 bond rating. "I won't let that happen," he said during the 90-minute conversation about development and budget issues.

The town's departments and agencies have been directed to start from scratch with their budget, he said. Leasing some of the Great South Bay area where the town's shell fish hatchery is located is also an option, he said.

In a separate interview, Republican Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt voiced similar views about how to most effectively to attack the deficit. "We're really just taking a really hard look at everything," she said.

Croci also said the town has had "some very serious negotiations" with possible developers and tenants for the Foreign Trade Zone, which has four undeveloped parcels. He also said he is "aggressively" lobbying "several airlines" to service Long Island MacArthur Airport, but declined to name them.

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