Bellone unveils plan to close Suffolk budget gap

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today unveiled his plan to close a budget gap that could be as much as $180 million. Bellone says the

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today unveiled his plan to close a budget gap that could be as much as $180 million. Bellone says the county's No. 1 source of income -- sales tax -- remains flat, but the county's expenses are growing.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today unveiled his plan to close a budget gap that could be as much as $180 million. Bellone says the county's No. 1 source of income -- sales tax -- remains flat, but the county's expenses are growing. (9/16/16)

HAUPPAUGE - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today unveiled his plan to close a budget gap that could be as much as $180 million.

Bellone says the county's No. 1 source of income -- sales tax -- remains flat, but the county's expenses are growing.

“What we've seen over the past couple of years is sales tax flatlining,” says Bellone.

As a result, Bellone put together what he calls a lean budget that increases spending only about 1 percent. It includes some cuts in services and increases in fees, and a tax hike for residents served by the county police department.

Homeowners in the towns of Huntington, Babylon, Smithtown, Islip and Brookhaven will see a nearly 4 percent increase in police taxes, or about $43 a year. However, there's a cut in sewer taxes for residents of the Southwest Sewer District, which covers the southern portion of Babylon and Islip towns. The cut will average about $150.

The proposed budget also includes a new mortgage recording fee. People in Suffolk who plan on buying or selling a home or refinancing a mortgage will be hit with an extra $300 in closing costs.

“We're continuing to reduce the size of government, cutting spending everywhere we can and focusing on improving the economy to get young people moving in here,” says Bellone.

Suffolk legislators will have to vote on the budget by early November.

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