Objecting to what she is calling a “fraudulent bait and switch” tactic to break Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s two percent cap on tax increases, Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio and other local officials are urging Town of North Hempstead Interim Supervisor John Riordan to schedule the vote on the town budget prior to the Election Day.
For the past two years, the supervisor Jon Kaiman has submitted a budget that falls under the cap prior to Election Day and, then, after Election Day, has submitted a higher amended budget, according to DeGiorgio.
Approving the amendment requires a super-majority vote, made possible this year by the appointment of Riordan earlier this month, according to DeGiorgio.
“I took an oath to perform the duties of Town of North Hempstead Supervisor and I will fulfill those obligations, especially as it relates to the budget process," said Riordan in a statement to Patch.
State law calls for the budget hearings to be conducted by the first Thursday after Election Day and to be adopted by Nov. 20, according to Riordan.
North Hempstead has conducted its budget process according to those guidelines for the past 15 years, according to Riordan.
"As interim supervisor I will not make any structural changes to the budget process," said Riordan. "I stand with the Town Board as we are committed to supporting the budget in its present form, which falls within the tax cap.“
Riordan said if the new administration, which takes office Jan. 1, chooses to change the process, they will exercise that prerogative when that time comes, otherwise it's business as usual.
According to DeGiorgio, North Hempstead GOP Councilman Angelo Ferrara has asked that Riordan recuse himself from the budget vote altogether, “since the people didn’t elect him, and he shouldn’t have sway over their taxes.”
Democratic Town Clerk Leslie Gross and Town Council candidates Anthony Bulzomi and Jeff Benjamin echoed DeGiorgio and Ferrara’s concerns, according to DeGiorgio.Election day is Nov. 5 in North Hempstead.