Letter to Editor:
As was , I voted for the adoption of the 2012 budget proposed by Supervisor Petrone. I believe that budget is a fiscally responsible spending plan, the highlights of which are:
- A 0% tax increase in the general fund
- A capital budget of $10.1 million which represents an 18% decrease in Capital spending from 2011 (this represents the lowest level of borrowing by the Town in more than a decade).
- Reducing expenses in a manner that maintains the delivery of services
- Decrease (third year in a row) of total amount the Town will appropriate and spend.
- A slight increase in the highway tax to accommodate the severe weather and storm events we sustained over the past year (including Hurricane Irene)
As I stated after the budget resolution failed, it is a travesty that the budget will now go into effect by default and that there were not three votes for this sensible and lean budget. I believe that one of the most fundamental duties of a member of the Town Board is to work with town departments to develop and adopt a budget for the Town. Of course, it is fair to agree or disagree with those budget choices. However, it is incumbent upon our Town Board to offer amendments to the budget if we disagree with the choices in the budget presented by the Supervisor. My colleagues chose to vote no on the budget AND to not offer any resolutions to amend it.
During my tenure as a Town Board member, we have always adopted a budget and never allowed one to be implemented by default. Those budgets and policies have led us to receive the gold standard of fiscal health, a AAA bond rating, which is the highest of any town on Long Island. Huntington continues to be a leader in building and maintaining our parks and infrastructure and delivering effective services while holding the line on taxes for our residents. I am confident that my vote for the 2012 budget will allow Huntington to run in a fiscally conservative manner despite challenging economic times.
Mark A. Cuthbertson