JULY 2018 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 21
By TOM CILMI
Suffolk GOP Minority Leader
At the Suffolk County Legislature’s
June 5 meeting, County Executive
Steve Bellone abandoned 40 years of
precedents and combined 29 capital
project bonding resolutions into two
Previously, whenever the county
executive would propose a capital
project resolution, it would come
with an accompanying bond resolution,
which would authorize the
borrowing necessary to pay for just
that project. That provided valuable
oversight and transparency.
The two bundled bond resolutions
would have authorized approximately
An attempt to bully the legislature
into approving borrowing.
$24 million of borrowing, most of
which would have passed had they
been presented individually. Because,
however, these bonding resolutions
were bundled together, Republicans
voted no, causing the bonds to fail.
Over the past few months, Republicans
have voted against a handful
of individual bonding resolutions
for a variety of reasons. For example,
there are certain projects we believe
could be and should be paid for out of
the $3 billion in taxes you’ve already
paid. The county executive’s assertion
that since we voted for the project, we
should vote for the bond — or how we
pay for the project — is a distraction.
Recently, we borrowed to pay for
things that in years past would be
paid for with cash from the county’s
operating budget. Consequently, the
county’s debt has grown to historic
levels and debt payments are now in
excess of $100 million annually.
In an attempt to bully the legislature
into approving borrowing for all of
the projects he wants, the county executive
combined the resolutions. If he
couldn’t get them all on their own, he
figured by combining them together,
members would be forced to vote yes
or risk losing something important to
each of us. Nevertheless, we voted no.
Imagine our surprise when, at our
next meeting on June 19, we were
again presented with bundled bonds.
This time, however, the county executive
included a $2 million project to
provide a panic button app to schools
throughout Suffolk. Despite questions
about how exactly the app would be
used, and despite questions about the
desire of school districts to utilize the
app — questions which, by the way,
persist — the project bill passed.
The bond, however, because the
county executive chose to bundle it
with other bonds, failed. Minutes after
the vote took place, the county executive
announced a press conference to
deride Republicans for voting against
this public safety initiative.
Bellone knew full well that we would
vote against a bundled bond resolution.
If he was truly interested in deploying
this app, he would have separated it
from the bundled bonds and it likely
would have been approved. Clearly, this
was a preconceived scheme, an opportunity
to criticize Republicans, which
frankly is shameful. Any blame for the
failure of this bond rests squarely on
the shoulders of the county executive.
POINT OF VIEW
NO BUNDLED BONDS
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