The Long Beach City Council last week voted for a second time on a bond bill to allow the city to borrow $12 million after state legislators failed to pass the original legislation on time earlier this year.
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With Councilman John
McLaughlin absent, the council voted 4-0 to approve the legislation, or home
rule message, which must then gain approval from lawmakers in the state
assembly and senate, who either must vote on the bill in a special session
this fall or wait until a regular session in January. If passed, the city would be required to issue
bonds by June 30, 2015, and pay back the $12 million over 10 years.
The city is pursuing the borrowing plan to pay off its deficit and “extraordinary expenses” due to Hurricane Sandy. An independent audit that was released earlier this year revealed the city’s had a $9 million operating deficit for the 2012 fiscal year.
In March the council approved the original home rule resolution to request the state’s permission to borrow the $12 million in bonds, as the city was required to issue bonds by June 30. But after assembly passed the bill in April, the senate approved it on June 17, days before the 2013 state legislative session ended June 30, which wasn’t enough time to meet the deadline for Gov. Cuomo to sign the bill, said Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, who sponsored the bill with Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre. Failure to meet the deadline nullified the bill, requiring a new bill and voting process.
"I'm not going to blame anybody; that
doesn't help us in any way," Weisenberg told Patch in July when asked who
was to blame for the error. "It's easy politically to say it's his fault
or their fault. The answer really is, we did everything expeditiously. I didn't
blame [Sen.] Dean Skelos, [the Republican senate majority leader from Rockville
Centre], when they passed the bill on the 17th and we couldn't even amend it.
It is what it is."
If Cuomo had approved the bill this year, the city would have returned to a 10-year timeline instead of three years to repay the $12 million. Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said the city’s finances won’t be immediately impacted by the error, since the current 2013-14 budget didn’t count on the borrowing, but the sooner the city can borrow the sooner it can wipe away an average $183 surcharge that homeowners are paying to help balance the budget.