Words fly at Town of Hempstead budget meetings

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HEMPSTEAD -

Town of Hempstead officials engaged in two heated meetings Tuesday on the town's budget.

Arguments earlier Tuesday between Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Town Supervisor Anthony Santino resulted in the latter walking out. Later that night, King Sweeney and Councilman Bruce Blakeman called out the supervisor.

"He silenced voters, he silenced the public and he tried to silence Bruce and me," King Sweeney said. "But that's not going to happen tonight."

The proposed total operational budget for the town is almost $419 million. It raises property tax revenue by nearly 2 percent.

Residents who went to have their voices heard on budgetary issues said they were counting every cent.

"I certainly don't see a need for two deputy commissioners in the building department," one person said.

The meeting boiled down to more than 2 1/2 hours of contentious debate. Santino at times was visibly frustrated.

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