Some Glen Cove residents voiced concern at Tuesday’s City Council meeting over certain cuts being proposed in a draft budget. Namely, residents were concerned that the budget line for “Celebrations,” which in 2018 had held $80,000 to spend on city events like “Cinema in the Street” and the Downtown Sounds Summer Concert Series was completely cut. The public also reacted to the fact that the city will be eliminating subsidies for the city’s summer camp program.
While Cinema in the Streets was funded entirely by the city, Downtown Sounds is the result of a public-private partnership between the city and the Glen Cove Downtown Business Improvement District. “This has been a summer tradition for over 20 years for the Glen Cove community,” Patricia Holman, executive director of the BID, said, “and we want to continue it.”
The city and the bid spend $25,000 each on the summer concert series, which runs from July through August. If the city withdraws its portion, the series would only run for the month of July, Holman said.
“There’s a lot of time between now and January,” when the BID begins planning for the event, Holman said, adding that she hoped that by then, she would be able to secure a large sponsor.
The budget includes a 1.8 increase in the tax levy — the largest increase allowed by New York state law — but because the total value of residential property in Glen Cove increased by about 7.7 percent, that levy increase results in a residential tax rate decrease of nearly 5 percent.
The city also plans to end its practice of subsidizing summer camp registrations for families who need it. There had been a discussion at a recent pre-council meeting about both ending the subsidies and raising the camp fees by $200 per camper. While the fee hike has been reduced to $100, the termination of taxpayer-funded subsidies — which Tenke said was illegal anyway — will save the city approximately $30,000 over last year.
Glen Cove resident Gaitley Stevenson-Matthews said that he hoped that members of the community — through donations — could help to provide financial assistance to families who needed it in order to send their children to camp. Tenke said that the city was exploring ways to obtain funding from the county, state and federal governments to pay for camper subsidies.
During the public comments section of the meeting former Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello pushed back against frequent characterizations of fiscal mismanagement leveled at his administration by Tenke and Councilwoman Marsha Silverman.
To that end, Spinello spent a significant amount of time pointing out practices — one-shot revenues, for example — in Tenke’s draft budget for which Tenke had previously criticized Spinello. Silverman noted that the one-shot revenues in the draft budget were being spent on one-shot expenses, which, she said, citing a recent report from the state comptroller, was a fiscally sound practice.
Responding to the former mayor’s comments, Silverman, said, “I guess the 2019 election season has started early.”