Islip’s 2017 capital budget includes a new $6.5 million building for the Exchange Ambulance of the Islips company.
The Islip Town Board narrowly approved the $45.7 million capital budget at its Nov. 22 board meeting.
Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilmen Steve Flotteron and John Cochrane voted for the budget. Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt voted against the budget and Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen abstained from voting.
Carpenter said the capital budget helps provide a road map for the town’s future but noted that the projects listed in the budget aren’t necessarily going to happen.
“This is mainly a plan for spending for next year, hopefully,” she said at the meeting. “Some of these projects get put into the budget in hopes we are able to secure some grant funding. We have to show a commitment to really moving forward with the project to secure funding a lot of times.”
Bergin Weichbrodt said that the town has increased its rate of borrowing in the past two years. “Typically over the last few years our borrowing has been around $20 million. If all of these projects are bonded out and we end up borrowing $45 million . . . our debt service more than doubles,” she said.
After the meeting she said, “I find it fiscally irresponsible to double the borrowing and leave our children to shoulder that burden.”
Mullen did not return calls for comment.
At the public hearing on the capital budget, Flotteron said in particular the capital budget helps the Exchange Ambulance of the Islips, whose aging building on Carleton Avenue needs extensive repairs.
“The building is not up to New York State building code,” he said. “It’s an unsafe building.”
Selene Fatigate of Sayville said at the hearing that she was concerned about the town borrowing money for the capital projects. “This excessive borrowing will leave our children and our grandchildren in debt,” she said.
Islip Town Comptroller Joseph Ludwig said the budget’s projects will still be subject to board approval. “The fact that something’s written here doesn’t mean we’re selling bonds,” he said, and added, “we don’t sell bonds for the projects we’re not going to do.”