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Mattituck Park District proposes 39% tax increase; vote Thursday

Residents of the Mattituck Park District will go to the polls Aug. 12 to vote on a proposed budget that includes a 39% increase in the taxes the district receives. If approved, the amount would go from the current $288,000 to $400,000. 

The overall budget would increase by 10%.

Charles Gueli, the head of the three-person district board, said the board held a vote in early July to increase the budget by 2% to $294,433. The vote on that was unanimous.

But, he said, he and other members of the board listed projects and improvements they consider critical to complete, including an exercise trail at an as yet unspecified location, and decided the budget needed to be further increased.

After consultations with town officials and realizing the district budget had not been increased in approximately a decade, the board voted 2-1 later in July to raise the budget by 39%, to a total of $400,000. The lone dissenter was board member Nicholas Deegan.

At the Aug. 5 park district meeting, Mattituck resident Art Beisel challenged the board to find another way to fund needed projects without a large increase. He also criticized the board for not being fully transparent with the public about the budget increase and allowing for full public participation at that time. 

In a letter to The Suffolk Times, Mr. Beisel urged district residents to vote “no” on Aug. 12. He said the 39% increase would raise $400,000 in tax revenue. In his letter, he wrote that “… raising revenues through taxation by 40% to fulfill a wish list of projects is unfair to taxpayers, as tax increases are rarely if ever reversed.”

Mr. Gueli said information from the town assessor’s office shows that, if approved, the 39% increase would raise residential property taxes within the district by up to $25 a year.

The vote is set for Thursday, Aug. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Community Room at Veterans Park in Mattituck.