Hundreds expected to pack Long Beach meeting amid tax hike plan

LONG BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Hundreds of residents are expected to pack a Long Beach budget hearing Tuesday amid a city plan to raise taxes.

Officials say the proposed 12.36 percent hike, about $400 per year, is necessary in order to close a $4.5 million budget deficit next year.

The city is projecting increased spending and operating costs and declining revenue. But residents said some of the tax increase is to cover raises for employees and millions of dollars in retirement and management separation payments - some of which were made to people who still work for the city.

"Our corporate counsel, he's still there, so his separation payment of $128,000, why is he getting it?" resident Katherine DiMonda asked. "Most of the residents haven't had any of their questions regarding the separation payouts adequately answered by any of the administration or city council."

Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne attempted to speak with acting Long Beach City Manager Michael Tangney about the separation payouts, but he refused to take any questions on the subject and stormed out of his office.

The city has already cut weekend bus service and has not ruled out layoffs. Sewer, refuse and water fees are also expected to go up.

"I know in my personal life, if I have money that I don't have enough of, I start cutting back on things," resident James Kirklin said. "I don't go asking my neighbors to pitch in and help me pay for my bills."

The city has blamed part of its financial woes on $4 million to $5 million it said it is owed from FEMA for Superstorm Sandy payments.

In March, the New York state comptroller declared Long Beach in significant fiscal stress due to its short-term borrowing and deteriorating fund balances.

* More Long Island news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.