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Southampton OKs public forums on budget

After more than an hour of political wrangling, the Southampton Town Board agreed Tuesday to a series of special meetings seeking public input, as well as town board input, on the supervisor’s tentative budget.

Republican Councilwoman Nancy Graboski submitted a resolution Tuesday to make the tentative budget a preliminary budget, triggering public hearings. Graboski said she wanted the vote Tuesday so that public hearings — one is now scheduled for Nov. 9 — could be held before Election Day, Nov. 8.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member supported by the Democrats, wanted to hold several work sessions — which, unlike public hearings, feature town board input in addition to public input — to talk about substantive changes before the conversion to the preliminary budget in order to “keep the fire on the feet” of fellow lawmakers.

Last year, she said, the Republican majority — including Graboski, Christopher Nuzzi and James Malone — “hijacked” the budget and made last-minute changes she said needed to be fixed throughout the year. Graboski said the changes, such as budget cuts and stopping the dismantling of the general services department, were necessary.

In the end, the town board decided by a 5-0 vote to hold four special meetings every Friday until the Nov. 9 budget hearing: at 10 a.m. Oct. 14 and Oct. 28, and at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 and Nov. 4.


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