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Council Delays Vote on Tenke Budget in Glen Cove

The Glen Cove City Council has postponed a vote on the budget proposal prepared - outside the normal budget process - by Mayor Tim Tenke. The Council criticized Tenke for drafting a budget after excluding any input from the City's CFO - Controller Sandra Clarson - calling the Tenke draft budget "half-baked, inaccurate and incoherent."

Tenke is feuding with Clarson, whom he attempted to “fire” in August. Clarson was then reinstated by Order of the Courts. Earlier this year, Clarson exposed Tenke for receiving "double payments" from the City for both his private insurance and his salary. As a result, Tenke has had to return several thousand dollars to the City.

Normally the City Controller prepares the City budget, but this year Tenke barred Clarson from the budget process. He then drafted a proposed budget himself, including only Councilwoman Marsha Silverman, the lone Democrat on the City Council, in his drafting process.

On Tuesday, October 22nd, the City Council delayed its vote on Tenke’s proposed $50 million city budget. Under the Tenke budget, taxes would rise about $78 for the homeowner, within the 2% tax increase cap imposed by the state. The council members said they needed more time to review the budget, and found that many of the figures in Tenke's budget were inaccurate or simply the Mayor's best guesses.

The City Council meeting was held open, to allow the Council to come back and address the budget as part of a continuing meeting. Under the bylaws and the city charter, if the Council closes its meetings without passing a budget by the fourth Thursday in October, then the budget would be approved by default.

The vote to keep open the meeting was approved by the five-member Republican majority, with only Silverman voting to close the meeting and accept the Mayor's proposed budget.

Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck voted to keep the meeting open, and stated that "the Controller Sandra Clarson should be a part of the budgeting process." Clarson has been excluded by Tenke from any involvement in the budget process.

Councilwoman Silverman said that if the city failed to pass a budget before tax bills are distributed in December, they would go out with 2019 rates, costing the city money.

Some council people were concerned that the ferry revenues in the Tenke budget were almost $1.9 million, which they thought unrealistic. State Comptroller DiNapoli in an 2018 audit criticized Glen Cove for abusing “one-shot” revenues, which should not to be used for recurring expenses.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 7th.

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