Bellone unveils 2019 proposed budget for Suffolk

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released a proposed $3.1 billion budget for next year.

The budget does not have a tax increase for the county portion of the property tax bill.  However, there is a separate line for police taxes for residents living in Huntington, Babylon, Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven. Residents in those towns can expect their police taxes to go up about $4 a year.

The proposed police tax hike next year is 3.5 percent. This year a nearly 5 percent hike took effect. The year before that was 4 percent. This would mark an eighth straight year that police taxes went up in Suffolk. Most Suffolk residents News 12 spoke with said they were OK with the hike in police district taxes.

People who live on the East End have their own town police departments.

The county executive's office says higher than expected sales tax revenues helped them come up with what they call a very solid budget.

"We are in a good position," says Lisa Black, the county executive's chief of staff. "We are paying off our debt. We have a budget that has no new fees, no layoffs, stayed within the property tax cap, maintains critical services for social services, and public safety."

Legislator Tom Cilmi, of Bay Shore, says the budget is not structurally balanced.

"Every year, the county executive presents a budget that is technically and legally supposed to be balanced, and yet every year we have seen structural deficits," says Cilmi.

The budget also calls for an 11 percent drop in sewer taxes for those who live in Babylon and Islip who are connected to the county sewer system.

County Executive Steve Bellone says the spending plan contains no borrowing, something Republican legislators are skeptical of.

Public hearings will be held on the budget before the County Legislature votes on it for approval.

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