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Brookhaven board unanimously OKs budget

Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko is forming a task

Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko is forming a task force. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan, 2010

Brookhaven’s Town Board passed its $260-million budget in a unanimous vote Thursday night — the first unanimous budget vote since 2004, Town Supervisor Mark Lesko noted.

Lesko, above, thanked the board on behalf of taxpayers for “voting for a tax freeze, and they appreciate it.”

Several amendments to the budget were added for the board’s vote since last week’s public hearing brought pleas from youth agencies and park rangers to restore funding for their services.

The budget for youth services had been reduced by $500,000, and the part-time park ranger positions had been eliminated entirely.

Through decreasing the part-time code enforcement officers’ budget, the rangers were restored to the budget though they will work 16 hours a week instead of 20.

Councilwoman Connie Kepert voted against the amendment, saying code enforcement officers work on important issues.

“I am questioning whether it’s more important to have park rangers at the beaches and parks than it is to have code officers throughout Brookhaven,” she said.

Kepert did not succeed in restoring $5,000 to the South Country Boys and Girls Club, which she argued serves the town’s youth. But an amendment to restore $35,000 in funding to three agencies deemed vital and of service to the entire town — Response of Suffolk County (a suicide hotline), Youth Court and anti-violence program Lifeline Mediation — were approved. The funding came from the waste-management budget.

The amendments did not change the budget’s amount.

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