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Islip Town meeting to address budget shortfall

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, at Newsday's conference

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, at Newsday's conference room in Melville (April 20, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

The Islip Town board will hold a special meeting Thursday to hear from the heads of its largest departments as officials prepare to submit the proposed 2013 budget, due Sept. 30.

With the town facing a projected $26 million shortfall, commissioners from all departments were instructed earlier this year to create zero-based budgets, in which they started from scratch and added only essential spending items, Supervisor Tom Croci said. That move cut $3 million in spending from the 2013 budget, he said.

Then, Croci asked the departments to shave 10 percent off that figure.

Commissioners from the town-run Long Island MacArthur Airport, as well as the town’s planning, public works, parks and recreation, environmental control and public safety departments will present their bare-bones budgets to the board at the public meeting, and will answer questions about what the cuts in funding would mean for services, operations and jobs.

All town departments will be addressed, town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia said, though smaller departments will be handled by Comptroller Joseph Ludwig.

“What do these cuts mean? How do they impact our operations? The board is looking to make the most informed decision before crafting a draft budget,” Birbiglia said, adding that there will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the meeting.

In an August meeting with reporters, Croci indicated that all options to close the budget gap are on the table, including the closure of several town-run parks, pools and beaches, and a major reduction in services such as paving and drainage.

Above: Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci

Thursday’s meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at Islip Town Hall, 655 Main St.

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