Bellone, legislators talk ways to fill potential $180M budget deficit

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, members of his budget staff and members of the Legislature met in Hauppauge Thursday to discuss how to close their

County officials estimate that the budget gap could be near $180 million by the end of the year.

County officials estimate that the budget gap could be near $180 million by the end of the year. (9/9/16)

HAUPPAUGE - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone met with legislative leaders yesterday to discuss proposals to address a potential $180 million budget deficit.

Among the proposals discussed were raising property taxes by an amount within the tax cap, cutting funding to nonprofits and borrowing money.

"Everybody was kind of in a state of shock when we saw everything that was on the table," says Legislator Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst).

Officials say what they might end up doing is a combination of cutting services and raising revenues. So there could be further cuts in bus service and an increase in fines for red-light camera violations.

"We're not going to do anything that's not in line with what other neighboring municipalities are doing, or less than what they're doing," says Bellone. "We're conscious of people's concerns. But at the end of the day, we have to balance the budget."

Hauppauge-based Island Harvest is concerned about the potential cuts to nonprofit funding.

"We depend on it to feed the Suffolk County residents who are most vulnerable," says Allison Puglia, of Island Harvest.

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