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No changes as Town Board adopts 2018 budget

Riverhead Town’s 2018 budget was adopted with no changes, and not a lot of drama, Monday.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio had called a special meeting Monday to vote on the 2018 town budget, saying she had some issues with department head raises.

But once the meeting began, she didn’t have enough support on the board for the changes she proposed.

It passed by a 3-2 vote, with Ms. Giglio and outgoing Councilman John Dunleavy voting no.

By state law, the final budget must be adopted by Dec. 20, or the proposed budget goes into effect automatically.

The budget the board approved Monday is the same proposed by Supervisor Sean Walter at the end of September.

“I don’t agree with the department head raises in the budget,” Ms. Giglio said Monday. “I voted no for the resolution on Dec. 20, 2016 to tie them to the CSEA contract. I think they should have individual management contracts.”

The Dec. 20 resolution, which was approved 4-1 with Ms. Giglio the only no vote, authorized the supervisor to enter into an agreement with department heads and other non-union management positions giving them increases similar to CSEA.

The resolution said there was a disparity of treatment between such department heads and management and unionized employees.

Mr. Dunleavy, who leaves office in January, said he wanted to lower the supervisor salary to a comparable rate to the rest of the East End but did not have support.

“We’re one of the lowest economic towns in the Suffolk County and we have the second highest paid supervisor in the county,” he said.

Mr. Walter said the salary was deserved, and that Mr. Dunleavy didn’t even present a resolution to the board to make the changes he sought to bring to a vote.

Ms. Giglio said she doesn’t support lowering the supervisor’s salary.

The adopted town-wide budget for 2018 calls for $56.8 million in spending, up 2.51 percent; $45.6 million in taxes, up 2.46 percent; and a 1.62 percent tax rate increase. It is within the state’s tax cap limits, officials said.

For the owner of property with a market value of $300,000, the difference would amount to about $36 more per year, or $2,250 total for town taxes, in Riverhead. Town-wide taxes include highway, general fund and street lighting district.

There were no speakers at the Nov. 8 public hearing on the budget.

Photo caption: Supervisor Sean Walter at a meeting earlier this year. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)

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