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Mastic Beach residents discuss price for dissolving village

Police step in as Shineye Wright is escorted

Police step in as Shineye Wright is escorted out of meeting holding a "dissolve yes" sign after an altercation in during a dissolution meeting at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach on Oct. 18, 2016. Photo Credit: John Roca

If Mastic Beach residents vote to unincorporate their village next month and return to Brookhaven Town, New York State would provide the town with an annual $1 million tax credit that would go toward lowering property taxes townwide.

In addition, Benjamin H. Syden, vice-president of Albany-based municipal consulting firm The Laberge Group, said at a village board meeting Tuesday night at William Floyd High School, Mastic Beach taxpayers would have to absorb any financial settlements levied against the village from multiple pending lawsuits if the village is dissolved.

The village board has set a referendum on the question of dissolving the village on Nov. 16.

Under Article 78A of New York State’s General Municipal Law, the town absorbing an unincorporated village is eligible for the up to $1 million Citizen Empowerment Tax Credit. At least $700,000 of that must be used to lower taxes townwide, while $300,000 can be used at the town’s discretion, Syden said at the meeting.

During the meeting, several residents peppered the consulting firm with questions regarding the possible dissolution.

Resident Arthur Curley asked how the village’s debt would be settled, while resident John Mutt asked for more information about the tax credit. Others wanted to know more about Mastic Beach’s financial situation.

Syden informed the crowd of more than 230 people that information concerning the village’s debt, assets and liabilities would be available in a report to be made public on Nov. 9.

After the presentation, trustee Christopher Anderson said: “The presentation was informative but lacked financial information, which is the biggest problem. People are going to make an uninformed decision when they go to the polls.”

Incorporated six years ago, Mastic Beach, which sits along the Great South Bay, is the state’s newest incorporated village. If residents vote to dissolve it, Mastic Beach would be the first to be unincorporated on Long Island since 1991.

After the meeting, Mayor Maura Spery said she won’t say whether or not she’s in favoring of the village folding.

“I will not make a stand,” Spery said, adding, “A village government can be an effective form of government but you have to pay for it and it is expensive.”

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