islip town

Islip town tax hike raises political ire

Islip Dem. Chairman Gerry Pallotta

The leader of the Islip Town Democratic Committee says his group plans to examine "from top to bottom" the town's recently approved 2013 operating budget, which includes a 28-percent property tax increase and employee layoffs.

Gerry Pallotta, president of the committee, called the tax increase, which passed unanimously last week, "unprecedented," and said town taxpayers deserve a full accounting of what the Republican and Conservative party-dominated board cut from the budget.

"It shakes the trust of the taxpayers," Pallotta said.

At least 22 full-time employees are scheduled to lose their jobs, and at least another couple of dozen part-time guards at the town's marinas will be out of work, town officials have said, adding that they still are finalizing the...| read more ››

Public outrage puts Republican controlled board in "precarious position"

Republican Town Officials outside Town Hall

After a firestorm of criticism, Islip officials say they are considering privatizations, layoffs, downsizings and closures as a means to reduce the proposed 65 percent town property tax increase for the 2013 budget.

Councilman Anthony Senft, a Conservative on the Republican-majority town board, said the goal is to minimize town government's footprint by reducing spending before increasing revenue, though he said there is no specific plan for cuts yet.

"There is no way I will vote for a 65 percent tax increase," Senft said of the budget announced in September and due to be finalized next month. He said the town is looking at privatizing entities such as its hatchery, marina and golf courses and closing or restructuring parks,...| read more ››

After promising tax cuts, Croci now looks to 65% tax increase, public for advice

Islip Town Hall

They came by email, on Facebook and Twitter, and through the postal service. Some came by phone, and others in face-to-face exchanges.

When Islip Supervisor Tom Croci recently asked town residents for input on closing the $26 million budget deficit, hundreds of residents responded.

"Hi Tom, I read your facebook message, you have every right to raise all tax payers 10-15 (dollars) per month to get out of this mess," wrote Larry Farrell, 48, a sales consultant from Ronkonkoma and registered Republican who voted for Croci. "I study my tax bill and can confirm to you that raising by this much is not a big deal at all."

As the Republican town leader works to present his first budget...| read more ››

After questions raised, Islip GOP chairman declines paid post

Islip Town Hall

The chairman of the Islip Republican Committee on Thursday declined his appointment as a paid legal adviser to the town's planning board, an arrangement critics had decried as political patronage.

Frank A. Tantone, a lawyer the Republican-dominated town board appointed to the $55,000 annual contractual position in May, said that because of Islip's "challenging [financial] times" he would likely volunteer to do the job.

"While I appreciate being selected for such a significant public service, I have notified the town attorney that in light of Islip's looming financial crisis, it sets a better example to donate my services without compensation to help the town through these challenging times," Tantone said in a statement.

In an interview, Tantone, a former...|

Islip officials pass law to exceed tax cap

Islip Town Hall

"This is the hardest possible thing for a fiscal conservative to have to wrestle with," Croci said during the public hearing, which drew a large crowd. "We cut to the bone . . . It wasn't what I thought I would ever have to do my first year in office."

Several residents, however, accused Croci and the board of fiscal irresponsibility and urged a harder look at budget cuts.

"I'm just so frustrated," said Nancy Weibel, 63, of Bayport. "When I read that 65 percent, I almost fell off my chair . . . I voted for you, but honestly I don't think I will again."

Croci countered that the board has worked aggressively to cut spending. Earlier this year,...| read more ››