HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Starting next week, the public will be able to comment on the proposed 2021 capital and operating budgets released by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and listen to lawmakers’ deliberations as legislative committees and working groups meet to evaluate the two proposals.
The public can weigh in on the two budget proposals during legislative committee meetings being held Oct. 13-15. Additionally, public hearings on the operating budget proposal will be held Oct. 21 and Nov. 4. Legislative working groups on each budget will meet throughout the next few weeks, and these meetings will be livestreamed to give the public a chance to listen to lawmakers’ discussions and requests for changes. See below for details.
“The legislature and our budget review office have been preparing for the challenges of this moment. The budget proposals for next year will be unlike any we have seen before as we mitigate COVID-19’s financial toll, but we will do our due diligence and find a way forward,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “There are bound to be tough discussions ahead, but we will have them with public input and with the utmost transparency. I am proud to carry on the legislature’s practice of giving the public the opportunity to listen to our budget working groups’ deliberations to hear how we wrestle with difficult choices and confront the situation before us.”
The legislature is under an unusual time crunch due to delays in budget proposal submissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The County Executive typically releases his recommended capital budget every April and his recommended operating budget in late September. However, under an emergency order the proposed 2021-2023 Capital Budget Program and Budget was submitted to the legislature in September and the proposed 2021 Operating Budget is expected to be given to the legislature today. Final votes are expected on Nov. 4 and Nov. 16, respectively.
The Suffolk County Legislature Budget Review Office’s reviews of the proposals are posted at www.scnylegislature.us/757/Recent-Reports when complete.
Legislative Committee Meetings on the Budget Proposals
Members of the public will be able to comment on the two budget proposals at legislative committee meetings being held Oct. 13-15 at the William H. Rogers Building in Hauppauge according to the following schedule:
Tuesday, October 13th
Environment, Parks & Agriculture – 9:30 a.m.
Veterans & Consumer Affairs - 12:30 p.m.
Seniors & Human Services – 1:30 p.m.
Public Works, Transportation and Energy – 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14th
Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology & Diversity – 9:30 a.m.
Education & Labor – 11:00 a.m.
Economic Development, Planning & Housing – 12:00 p.m.
Budget & Finance – 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 15th
Public Safety – 9:30 a.m.
Fire, Rescue, & Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness – 11:30 a.m.
Ways & Means – 1:00 p.m.
Health – 2:00 p.m.
As the legislature building at this time remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with executive orders from the Governor, members of the public wishing to weigh in at any of the above meetings will be able to do so through Zoom by signing up at www.scnylegislature.us/2020CBOBCommittees. Public testimony will also be accepted by voicemail at (631) 853-3685, by email to Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov, or by regular mail addressed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787. The meetings will be livestreamed at www.scnylegislature.us.
Livestream of Legislature Working Groups
Legislative working groups formed to evaluate the County Executive’s proposed budgets will meet throughout October and into early November. These meetings will be livestreamed at www.scnylegislature.us to give the public an opportunity to hear the working groups’ discussions and recommendations for changes.
The 2021-2023 Capital Budget Working Group will meet on Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. Legislators will meet in a hybrid fashion, with some legislators meeting in person in the legislature’s Hauppauge auditorium and others attending by Zoom. Legislator Al Krupski is serving as chair with Presiding Officer Calarco, Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn, and Legislators Bridget Fleming, Rudy Sunderman, Sarah Anker, Leslie Kennedy and Tom Donnelly serving as members. The Capital Budget Working Group began meeting in June to work with the County Executive on a shared goal to reevaluate the remaining 2020 capital program in light of the financial crisis.
The 2021 Operating Budget Working Group will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 29, Oct. 30, and Nov. 2, and on more days if needed, also in a hybrid fashion via Zoom and in the Hauppauge auditorium. Presiding Officer Calarco will serve as chair, and Legislators Susan A. Berland, Tom Cilmi, Steven Flotteron, Samuel Gonzalez, Jason Richberg and William Spencer will serve as members.
Public hearings on the proposed 2021 operating budget will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 1:15 p.m. Legislators will gather in a hybrid fashion both by Zoom and at the William H. Rogers Building in Hauppauge, which at this time remains closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic in accordance with the Governor’s executive orders. If the Governor extends his orders, testimony for these public hearings will be conducted over Zoom, with sign-up available at the General Meeting Speaker Card - Public Hearing Form. Public testimony will also be accepted by voicemail at (631) 853-3685, by email to Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov, or by regular mail addressed to the attention of the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787. The hearings will be livestreamed at www.scnylegislature.us.
A public hearing on the proposed capital budget was held on Oct. 6. Only one hearing is required for the capital budget.
The legislature expects to vote on the proposed capital budget at its Nov. 4 meeting, which will start at 1 p.m., and the proposed operating budget at its Nov. 16 meeting, which will start at 4 p.m.