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Op-Ed: Islip Supervisor Seeks Input on Budgetary Challenges

Tom Croci outlines steps Town has taken to close its budget gap but also wants feedback from local residents on what steps to take in the future.

Editor's note: The following was submitted to Patch by Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci. The opinions in the piece are those of Croci and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Patch.

I have been privileged these past eight months to travel around our Town as Supervisor and represent the hard working families of Islip. When I took office, I pledged that the town board and I would face the tough challenges head on.  The state of our town’s finances was far greater than anyone could have foreseen. As many of you are aware by now, we are trying to in our 2013 budget, which was caused by the reckless spending, and poor judgment by the prior administration and supervisor.  

After two consecutive years of depleting our fund balance, we are left with few choices to balance our budget and prevent economic catastrophe in our town.  In order to continue the services which Islip residents deserve, the town will need to be funded at a certain level. Islip residents have expressed to us repeatedly what they have come to expect in the way of services and facilities, but we need to have a frank conversation about the face and future of our town and what that will cost.

Upon taking office, the town board cut an entire department of the government and reorganized others, we cut executive salaries, we sold town property and are placing it back on the tax rolls, we are reducing the number and cost of town buildings, we cracked down on absentee landlords and code violators, we eliminated $1 million in capital projects that were set to be completed this year, and we used zero-based budgeting to reduce town wide budgets by $3 million for 2013. We have set the town on a course to be more efficient and more profitable in the coming years. However, 2013 will require sacrifice and hard choices. 

We have cut our government down to the bone, but it is not enough. Are residents willing to accept a mass reduction of Town employees which would result in decreased services and speed of response from Town departments? Do you think that we should halt our road paving and drainage projects indefinitely? Should we close our pools, ocean and bay beaches and parks?  Should we raise fees for permits and all services?  Are residents prepared to pay an extra $10 or $15 per month to sustain Town operations and current services? 

This is a decision that our community must make together.  This is OUR town. Tell us what you think. 

Sharon Lynn August 30, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I don't understand something. Everyone claims there are financial problems and that's why taxes are rising.....Can you explain why the town pours brand new sidewalks on Townline Road and then a few weeks later tears a large section of them out.....probably to repour them again?? Did someone screw up on our tax dollars or is this called job security?? Very frustrating to see as I struggle to put food on the table for my family!
Christopher D'Antonio August 31, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Sharon, just as a clarifying remark, Townline Road is a county road, and the capital project which is replacing old sidewalk with new and installing new sidewalk is being conducted and paid for by Suffolk County.

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