Town Beach and Marina Parking Fees Upheld

Councilwoman Jane Bonner introduces resolution to withdraw the fees, but the town board votes it down.

The Town of Brookhaven on Tuesday upheld the beach and marina parking fees established about a month ago, despite an attempt by one town council member to comb through the town budget to find savings that would offset the cost of repealing the fee.

The Town Board voted 3-4 against rolling back the fee, with council members Jane Bonner, Tim Mazzei, and Dan Panico voting in the minority.

By working with various town officials, Bonner said she was able to find $625,000 in offsets within the town budget to withdraw the fee without sacrificing overtime costs budgeted for town operations. Her plan included eliminating three positions that are currently vacant due to the town's hiring freeze. She called it "painless ways to come up with the cuts that won’t be felt through the rank and file."

At the Town Board meeting on April 24, Bonner originally intended to present a resolution that would repeal the resident fee, but the town tabled the issue until the May 8 meeting to give her more time to work with various departments to achieve the necessary cost offsets. At that time, her negotiations fell $175,000 short of the $625,000 in total budget savings that would have allowed the town board to consider repealing the parking fees.

On Tuesday, town supervisor Mark Lesko said any of the savings should be banked for the future.

"Given the fiscal situation here, and I’m the chief financial officer, I have to look at the bottom line and we just can’t afford it," he said.

At least one Brookhaven resident at the meeting supported rolling back the fee. Anthony Frontino called it "a bitter reminder of Brookhaven’s inability to control spending and waste."

"[Lesko] calls it a user fee. It’s really a tax," he said.

Some in the crowd spoke in favor of retaining the parking fee.

"Let’s get real. It’s $25 for two years," said Meg Shutka, president of the CSEA white collar unit. "Expenses are increasing, revenues are down. The money has to come from somewhere...Brookhaven has beautiful beaches, beautiful parks. We need this money to keep these things that we have."

The Town Board has also adjusted the locations at which residents can purchase the parking permit; refer to the PDF attached to this article for full details.

lara buscatelli June 03, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Considering the town general tax is only 8 per cent of our tax bills and hasn't gone up in 17 years, it is no wonder they are searching for all these fees. They should just finally increase the taxes instead. It's unbelievable that the tax has remained stagnant for this long and they can balance the budget. I guess that's why service and maintenance will start disintegrating.
lara buscatelli June 03, 2012 at 11:50 PM
If you want elaborate amenities, then I suggest a private marina. Let's see instead of $64 a ft. it would be $200 a ft. So deducing from your fee that you pay $2,000, your boat is about 31'. A 31' boat at let's say Danfords would cost you $6,200. You are saving $4,200 a yr. Are we taxpayers subsidizing you to have your boat? Just saying, be thankful and appreciate what you have.
Melodie Tegay June 10, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Even more shameful is the orchestrated way the Board majority hoodwinked the public into thinking the tax REPEAL was a done deal. If you were there at the April Town Board meeting to address the issue -you were sold a bill of goods which defines the term deception. The Board KNEW that alot of people had signed up to speak AGAINST this back door tax because you have to "sign in" in order to be recognized during the public session. After 1 and 1/2 hour of "other business",the "CONCERNED" board members cautioned that they might not "get around" to the FEE issue til 9:30PM, sooo as NOT to make all the good citizens wait until such a late hour, when the "likelilhood was, it would be tabled anyhow"...we were basically told to GO HOME! This was followed up with their promise to revisit the issue at the next town board hearing in May. BUT before leaving, we ALL heard how Ms Boner had been working her you biddy off to find funds to offset the fee. We were also told that the gap was very small (I don't want to misquote the exact amount) and in fact it looked like this money would be forthcoming from, I believe, the Highway Dept. THEREFORE, "we probably would not even need to come to the next meeting, because the repeal was imminent." SO when NO ONE shows up in May-having been lulled into a false sense of complacency-suddenly there is still a LARGE shortfall, a 4-3 vote,and Lesko pockets the proceeds of Bonner's efforts. The moral is: DO NOT BUY STICKERS and VOTE the 4 OUT!
Thomas Lynch June 11, 2012 at 05:01 PM
exactly Melodie.....spot on.
Tom G October 13, 2012 at 08:16 PM
This Bill is still considered a travesty by many. I used to visit Pt Jeff at least 2-3 times a week, eating in restaurants and visiting the local shops. I no longer visit Pt Jeff, someting I enjoyed doing for many years and even more so, now that I am a retiree. I was wondering if anyone has surveyed the business community to determine if the bill imposing fees has had any impact on the economy of the local businesses. Has this been done or is anyone going to explore the impact of this outragios bill? Does anyone in government care or do they simply want to increase their coffers. Just wondering!


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