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No sludge? No problem for Brookhaven

Residents call for Brookhaven Town to shutter its

Residents call for Brookhaven Town to shutter its Yaphank landfill. (March 30, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Patrick Whittle

Brookhaven Town will cut funding for eight vacant positions and tap into a parks reserve fund to help fill a budget gap caused by the loss of a permit to accept sludge at its Yaphank landfill, Supervisor Mark Lesko said Thursday.

The town was scheduled to receive $2.9 million this year — and a total of $6.6 million in 2012 and 2013 — from its contracts to accept sludge from New York City and other Long Island towns.

But the state Department of Environmental Conservation last month took away Brookhaven’s permit after students and teachers at a Bellport intermediate school reported nausea from odors coming from the dump. Lesko said the town will close this year’s $2.9-million budget gap immediately and then work on the 2012 and 2013 shortfalls.

“We really over the past two years have cut this budget very close to the bone,” he said at a town board work session Thursday. “And now with the loss of this contract we’re pretty close to bone marrow.”

Some of the eight positions will be defunded for only part of the year, Lesko said. The workforce cut and the parks fund will combine to save about $1.4 million, he said.

Brookhaven will fill the remainder of the 2011 gap with several measures, including cuts to the ampitheater and office supply budgets, savings from a round of workforce buyouts and upticks in revenue from mortgage taxes, construction debris and recyclables, board members said.

The town will also save $460,000 by terminating Calabro Airport enterprise fund, they said, and a recent lawsuit settlement with Sills Road Realty, a developer building a rail spur in Yaphank, will yield $200,000.

Some of the budgeting moves are subject to votes at the town board meeting Tuesday, Lesko said.

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