Suffolk lawmakers approve police district tax hike
The Suffolk Legislature Wednesday approved a nearly 5 percent increase in the police district tax for five western towns.
The increase impacts residents of Huntington, Babylon, Islip, Smithtown and Brookhaven.
Democrats, who are in the majority, say the $750,000 increase over what County Executive Steve Bellone proposed is necessary to make up for reduced sales tax projections. Lawmakers say the police tax hike will go toward hiring more officers.
"We're upping the ranks of police officers as we fight the MS-13 scourge on the Island and opioid epidemic. It's important to fight those battles," said Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory.
MaryAnn Lavarra, of South Huntington, says she doesn't mind paying more for police.
"I'd rather my money go for that than something else, something that's going to protect me and my family and keep us safe," says Lavarra.
Others like Kim Giambino, of Huntington Station, say higher taxes are never good.
"Everyone works hard for their money. To have another tax imposed on everyone will make things difficult," says Giambino.
Lawmakers also approved restoring public health nursing programs and a tobacco cessation program.