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Long IslandSuffolk

Huntington mulls layoffs in budget plan

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone leads a hearing

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone leads a hearing on the Avalon Bay at a jam-packed meeting at Huntington Town Hall. (May 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

The Town of Huntington's 2013 spending plan calls for possible layoffs and hikes in bus fares, parking and refuse fees to help plug a projected $8 million loss in revenue.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone unveiled his preliminary $181.7 million operating budget and $8.6 million capital budget at a special town board meeting Friday. The budget represents a 0.83 percent increase in the town's total tax, about $19 a year for the average homeowner.

Petrone blamed projected increases in pension contributions and health insurance and reduced mortgage tax receipts for the gap.

He said a $4 million, one-shot revenue boost for the 2012 budget from debt service reserves related to the Covanta resource recovery facility has also been lost.

"We're dealing with a budget hole over last year . . ." Petrone said.

Petrone said he is working with the Civil Service Employees Association union to avoid 15 possible layoffs.

Rich Popkin, union chapter president, did not return calls seeking comment.

While taxes would rise only slightly under Petrone's budget plan, several town fees would become sharply higher.

At the 1,900-space Huntington Station garages, the permit fee will go from $50 a year to $600 a year, but the permit will be for a guaranteed spot. Fees for the town's parking lots will increase from $50 to $75 a year.

Fares for a single adult ride on the Huntington Area Rapid Transit system will go from $1.25 to $2; rides for the elderly will go from 50 cents to 75 cents, and student fares from 75 cents to $1.25.

The town is also increasing the tipping fee for residential and commercial waste disposal at the resource recovery facility from $75 to $80 a ton.

There will be public hearings on the budget and its related proposals on Oct. 16.

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