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Councilwoman Bonner: Fee Increases a Backdoor Tax

Local Councilwoman Jane Bonner voted no on Brookhaven fee increases along with two others.

On Wednesday, the Town of Brookhaven announced its fee schedule for 2012, which. The resolution passed by a vote of 4-3, with "no" votes by Councilmen Tim Mazzei and Dan Panico, and local Councilwoman Jane Bonner.

Bonner explained her no vote Thursday, discussing how she, Mazzei and Panico felt the fee increases were wrong.

"The reason the three of us protested these fee increase is because they’re a backdoor tax," she said. "You can’t run on not raising taxes and then increase fees like this, not to mention the inconvenience that this is going to create for the residents.

"If they’re going to be hammered on the head with this fee, the least the Town could do is figure out a way that they can still get their parks pass the way people always did, which is at their local beach."

Local beaches affected by this change include , Shoreham and Shoreham Beach, Stony Brook Beach and . As of now, residents can buy stickers at Brookhaven Town Hall and other local centers, but not at beaches.

"I went over to the Supervisor's office a few weeks ago and said we need to come up with a better solution than this," Bonner said. "What if people are going to Cedar Beach because they belong to the Yacht club, or they have a boat or are going to Ralphs?"

Councilmembers Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld, Connie Kepert and Kathleen Walsh registered "Aye" votes along with Supervisor Mark Lesko.

"Their justification was that we haven’t raised fees in a number of years," Bonner said. "Rather than reduce the size of government to make it more efficient so it doesn’t cost the taxpayers so much….raised fees and taxes should be your last resort, it shouldn’t be your go-to for everything."

Chuck April 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It's time for Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld to find another job. He's been here far too long. Let's remember these fees at the next election
Captain Howard Hawrey April 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
How the heck did they pull this off without many of us even see it coming? Everybody, I mean everybody I've talked to had no idea this was taking place. This is unbelievable and unacceptable. Our elected officials need to be held accountable. We should all be raising H*LL! This is nonsense!
Sound Pointer April 05, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Having parking fees at town beaches doesn't sound unreasonable to me since it is a way to have the people who use the beach or just the parking lot help pay for the cost to maintain them. Otherwise the cost is passed on to all the taxpayers, including those who don't use the facilities. If you can afford to own a boat and belong to the yacht club, then you can certainly afford $12.50 per year for a parking sticker.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 05, 2012 at 11:22 PM
You've already been paying this through your taxes for how many years now. Guess your made of extra money.The beaches have been maintained just fine. Do you think your going to get "better" beaches because of this fee? Hello McFly? This new fee is BS! Brookhaven is out of control!
mako235 April 06, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Many people use the beach who are not boat owners or members of the yacht club. You want to go sit at the beach and maybe watch a sunset for 15 minutes? You have now lost access to the beach. How many families use the beach because they have no where else to go?...now they have to pay. It has been no fee for as long as I can remember. They don't even make it easy to get the pass. It also is pretty sneaky to announce thus during a holiday week when few are paying attention. How many people are they going to have to hire to help those poor ticket booth folks who will no doubt get into confrontations from unaware citizens? How many more to patrol to check stickers? Will they lock the gates now after the ticket booth closes?....this is not right.
Don Ockers April 06, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Thank you Jane,Tim and Dan for standing up and having backbone and the brains to realize this was just wrong and so disingenuous to the people of Brookhaven. The rest of you are puppets and need to take a good long look in the mirror. Every problem isn't fixed by throwing our money at it because it is our money and not yours or did you forget this. You work for us, we don't work for you. I will be working on your performance reviews and I have to tell you don't expect a glowing report, you have once again taken the easy way out at our expense. I need people who work hard and can think of real solutions to problems that involve more than the backdoor tax approach you are becoming famous for. Perhaps we need to look outside of Brookhaven to find suitable replacements for all of you who voted yes. That is your new policy position right, look outside Brookhaven to fill positions with qualified people since in your arrogance we are all happy just to sit on the back of the turnip truck and in many cases don't meet your standards. I think you are not meeting our standards and we need to make a few changes around here.
Edbo April 06, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I have lived in the Towns of Babylon and Huntington and always paid for a beach sticker, Why should Brookhaven be any different? The two year fee is reasonable plus those 60+ get the sticker for half price. Bonner always finds something to complain about. It will be money well spent in order to support the beaches.
32 year resident April 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
We already are paying for the beaches in our Town Tax; we will not get better or cleaner beaches with this fee; I don't think so! will the bathrooms be open for boaters to use and have the problems fixed in thoses bathrooms? I don't think so; will there be more parking for not only boaters but residents going to the beach? I don;t think so! will this mean the residents won't be locked out if they want to walk the beach after dusk; I don't think so! just a BACK DOOR TAX! Thanks to Jane, Dan & Tim for voting NO and keeping your campaign message; no back door taxes! This was presented last year and was put on hold until this year! Oh last year was election year! at least let us get the permit as we always did, at our local beach booth!!!! why can't we??
32 year resident April 06, 2012 at 12:26 PM
one more question! will all the bathrooms be opened in May? last year the bathrooms were closed until July; because of staffing!! we had to leave because my grandson had no acess to the bathrooms on a beautiful very hot day in June!! the beach was crowed with adults as well as kids! that day people were outraged that the bathrooms were not opened in Mt Sinai! I am sure my grandson was not the only child who had no choice but have an accident and had to leave; in JUNE!!
brookhavenconfusing April 06, 2012 at 01:01 PM
"Bonner always finds something to complain about." OK - so it's obvious you don't like her, but at least recognize what she's taking issue with here. I grew up in the Town of Huntington too (for that matter so did Councilwoman Bonner) and yes - we paid for beach stickers too. And no, $50 for 2 years isn't an unreasonable amount; but no matter how you slice it, It's another tax and the people who voted "Yes" ran on platforms of "No new taxes" - shouldn't THEY be the ones being taken to task here? Her other complaint is how this is being implemented - why can't we get stickers at our local beach like we can now? (And like we always did in Huntington) No, we have to go to Town Hall to pay our pound of flesh. Last time I looked, Town Hall was a fair distance from any of the beaches. I'd call that adding insult to injury - nice move there Mark, Steve, Connie, & Kathy, remind me to stop by your office to say "thanks" when I go buy my sticker... I mean pay my new tax.
EJ Lopez April 06, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Beaches and parks should be open to everyone. This is another tax on the middle class....struggling families will now have to come up with money for another expense.
Mommy Roe April 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
You're wrong, the money WILL NOT be used for the beaches...it goes into the general fund. Just another way to tax. Isn't our tax dollars supposed to fund the general fund?
Tom April 06, 2012 at 01:29 PM
If you want to protest just drive by the booth and park your car without paying. When a group of say 50 to 100 cars do it at the same time it means something. What about the people that walk down to the beach. This is a joke and so are the clowns that put this new policy in. Election time is coming.
brookhavenconfusing April 06, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Seems somebody wasn't paying attention... it WAS raised by Jane at a number of the civic association meetings I know of, it was also raised during last year's campaigns during "Meet the Candidate" nights, and reported on in Newsday, and was even raised (and then tabled) at a Town Board meeting last year. Hold yourself accountable for being asleep at the wheel.
Shoreham April 06, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Does this mean that Shoreham beach will be open more than a few days a year?
brookhavenconfusing April 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM
http://northshoresun.timesreview.com/2010/06/926/we-may-soon-pay-to-access-parks/
Tom April 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
As long as we keep electing these CLOWNS in the town of CROOKHAVEN these back door deals will never stop. It became a way of life and you have no one but yourself to blame. You elected these jerks. At least most of you did. I heard there is another $5 charge if you bring a cooler and chairs. Wouldn't put it past them. Hope I didn't give them any ideas by saying this.
judy brocking April 07, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Hi Howie! I knew this was coming. I knew it 2 years ago from working at the club. The only way around this is to say you are going to Ralphs to visit friends, or the MSYC. The LEAST they could do is make it convenient by allowing us to buy the passes the same way we always got our resident stickers. At the gate!
roy April 08, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Mommy Roe is correct: we will NOT see any improvements at the beaches because of this fee. It's politicians being politicians. It's sad but you really can't believe one word any of them say.
Smith April 09, 2012 at 09:45 PM
not everyone owns a boat or belongs to a yacht club, get real, already the town from memorial day to july 3rd, will not have bathrooms or lifeguards from mon thru friday, there are a lot of families, teens, seniors etc. who just enjoy swimming or hanging out or walking , jogging on the path designated for just that. We are taxed to the hilt,and guaranteed this so called fee will go up each yr.
Shawn Clap April 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
The problem is Fiore-Rosenfeld already has another job, that's why he's never at his Brookhaven office when you call. What we need is a FULL-TIME councilman in Brookhaven District 1, not someone moonlighting as our representative.
Shawn Clap April 11, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I would agree, but these fees (estimated at >$650,000 annually) aren't going to maintain the parks and beaches. They are going into the general slush fund to pay for things like the ridiculous overtime that town employees are claiming they work. The system is unsustainable and this Town needs to be investigated.
Brooklyn Bagels & Cafe, Inc April 11, 2012 at 05:32 PM
TOGETHER WITH JANE BONNER -Lets tell Brookhaven Town we want the Parking Fee to be repealed for Cedar Beach! Town Board meeting on April 24. The public comment period is from 6-6:30 pm. ~Repost!!
Elizabeth April 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Drive by the booth without paying and you'll likely be speaking with the Suffolk County Police Officer. Do not be an idiot and follow the guidance of this fool. You'll be putting the lives of the staff at the beaches in danger.
Captain Howard Hawrey April 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Elizabeth it correct. We could however form a line a mile long from the booth outwards and block traffic going in because none of us want to pay! There is logical, legitimate, protest that can take place. Hopefully after the town meeting this will be changed. I will not be able to attend the meeting and am hoping that someone will ask this question: "Did the harsh winter (tongue in cheek) make this season any different than any other that we needed this fee?"
Alicia Palifka April 21, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Sound Pointer...Enough is enough....As a homeowner who has young children trying to make it in this econmy it's so easy for you to say the TAX is no big deal. Well it is. With everything going up this is unacceptable. That is why our taxes go up each year!!! We pay this IN OUR TAXES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not just boat owners and your assumption that because they *must* have the money for a boat then they should pay.. I'm guessing you are all about "People paying their fair share",. Well guess what I stand with the boat owners etc against this fee and I do not have a boat! I'm a mom who clips coupons ..makes my own laundry detergent, dish washing soap and buys clothes for my children on ebay to try to make it. I have a husband who works 6 days a week. We do not have new cars and never have.This TAX is unaccpetable. I pay it in my taxes!
Thomas Lynch April 24, 2012 at 03:03 AM
A number of us are going to the Town meeting tommorrow to speak at "public be heard" around 6 pm. If you want to speak or attend you must register and get a blue card and on the schedule before 6. If you can't attend, please edit or fill out the below (cut and paste it) and email it to my personal email address: T@L-Y-N-C-H.com and I will PRINT your letter and bring it in the stack I have started just today almost 50 high! .......PLEASE be a Brookhaven town resident / taxpayer / voter in one of the Districts of Brookhaven. NOTE: seems i can't seem to post the letter here, there is a 1,500 charactor limit. Here are links to three versions, it doesn't have to be pretty, just a powerful show of taxpayer and angry marina and beach goer support!!!! PLEASE DO THIS TONIGHT or EARLY tommorrow. should not take more then 5 minutes. Cut and paste from one of these and email it back with your contact data and etc. filled in at the bottom. www.l-y-n-c-h.com/BrookhavenParkingTax2012.txt www.l-y-n-c-h.com/BrookhavenParkingTax2012.doc www.l-y-n-c-h.com/BrookhavenParkingTax2012.htm Thank YOU for your concern and getting involved. (why are you still reading? get to the docs and send me that email NOW!!!!!! <smile>)
Alicia Palifka April 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM
@Thomas Lynch...Thank you for doing this..I have sent 3 letters to you that is from 3 different people...Have you thought about posting this on the News Channel 12 facebook page or contacting Newsday?

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