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Bellport Village taxes to rise

Bellport Village Hall (June 10, 2013)

Bellport Village Hall (June 10, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait

A double-digit-percent tax hike approved by the Bellport Village Board will help officials make badly needed repairs to facilities that were neglected or damaged by storms, Mayor Ray Fell said.

The $4.5 million budget, which hikes taxes by an average 14 percent and increases spending by 4.65 percent, was approved on April 14 by a 4-1 vote of the village board. Trustee Dorothy Terwilliger cast the lone "no" vote.

She could not be reached for comment.

The budget would raise the village portion of taxes on the average home to $1,368 from $1,200.

Fell defended the tax and spending hikes this week, saying Village Hall, the Bellport Community Center and other facilities had deteriorated during years of neglect. Increased spending also will allow village crews to repair parks, beaches and a marina damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012, Fell said.

"The village is in the process of doing $1 million worth of work on Sandy repairs," he said. "Village Hall needed painting desperately."

The village also plans to repair rotted wooden gutters at Village Hall and complete repairs to the community center.

"There's a lot of maintenance work that had to be done," Fell said. "You can't have a community center with a leaking roof."

Unionized village highway workers are due a 2.25 percent wage increase under a new contract, Fell said. The village also must give raises to seasonal workers because the state hourly minimum wage rose to $8 from $7.50, he said.

The village must also pay an additional $10 per ton for landfill tipping fees, and officials plan to replace 30 streetlights, some of which are three decades old, the mayor said.

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