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Smithtown athletic field hearing postponed

Smithtown -- Supervisor Patrick Vecchio Preparing a town

Smithtown -- Supervisor Patrick Vecchio

Preparing a town budget in the era of the state’s 2 percent tax cap is no easy task, and that won’t change next year, Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said.

The declining economy has dried up some sources of revenue, leaving towns little choice but to raise property taxes or cut services in 2012, he said.

“Revenues continue to fall, making it difficult to keep taxes at no increase or even tolerably low,” Vecchio said.

Smithtown’s 2012 budget raises taxes 0.72 percent. To avoid hiking taxes even more, Vecchio dipped into reserve funds. He said the reserves are “sufficient to get us through another a year or two,” but when they dry up, “You have nothing to lower taxes with.”

And, he said, there is not much fat in the budget.

“We’re bare minimum now, and certainly I would appeal to the [town] council to let jobs go by attrition,” Vecchio said. “No department is really overstaffed. There are no patronage jobs in the town.”

Credit: Handout

Smithtown officials have postponed until next month a public hearing on a proposed athletic complex at a Kings Park sand mine.

Representatives of the mine’s owner, Santilli Commercial Developers, said they need more time to notify neighbors of the hearing, which had been scheduled for next Thursday before the Smithtown Town Board.

Santilli has asked the town to approve a special use permit that would allow construction of baseball and soccer fields and batting cages at the site on Old Northport Road.

Commack lawyer Leonard Shore, who represents Santilli, said notices about the hearing must be mailed to owners of properties near the 44.5-acre mine. At least seven businesses and dozens of condominiums are adjacent to the site.

“Certified letters have to be sent to the property owners within a 200-foot radius at least 14 days before the hearing, and that was not done timely,” Shore said.

Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, above, said Thursday the hearing likely will be rescheduled for the board’s March 22 meeting, at the town senior citizens center, 420 Middle Country Rd., Smithtown.


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