HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – In an effort to fulfill his pledge for more transparency in government and the budget process, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory has scheduled two meetings of the 2020 Operating Budget Working Group at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge.
The bi-partisan operating budget meetings on October 17 and 21 will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on both days, and will allow the public the opportunity to hear the Working Group’s discussion surrounding the County Executive’s proposed budget as well as recommendations for changes.
Additional meetings will be scheduled by the Working Group as needed.
Presiding Officer Gregory said, “Over time, the County’s Capital Budget and the Suffolk County Community College Budget have been brought into the public forum. Opening the process to the public on the Operating Budget is vital to transparency in government. I am pleased that this is a bi-partisan effort to encourage public discussion and I welcome the opportunity to work with all members of the Working Group to find mutual ground on which the budget can be adopted.”
Presiding Officer Gregory’s initiatives relating to the budget process have resulted in increased visibility of legislative responsibility, including bringing the Capital and SCCC budgets into the public forum.
Legislature Minority Leader Tom Cilmi said, “From the time I joined the Legislature, I have been fighting to make our budget processes more transparent. When I first was elected, committees tasked with amending the capital, college and operating budget met in private to discuss amendments. I refused to take part in a process that was anything than fully transparent,” said Legislator Cilmi. “I fought to make the meetings public and found an independent ear in Presiding Officer Gregory who subsequently made the capital and college Working Group meetings public. Now, thanks to my leadership and Presiding Officer Gregory’s commitment to putting the institution of the Legislature above partisanship, I am excited to say that this year’s Operating Budget Working Group will also meet in full public view. I thank Presiding Officer Gregory for his willingness to embrace full transparency.
Operating budget public hearings will begin on Friday, September 27 at 10:30 am at the Evans K. Griffing Legislature Building in Riverhead, followed by a Wednesday, October 2 public hearing at 6:30 pm at the Legislature’s General Meeting at the Willliam H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. Joint meetings of the Ways & Means, Budget & Finance, and Education & Human Services committees will be held on Tuesday, October 15 at 9:30 am, followed by a joint meeting of the Veterans and Seniors & Consumer Protection committees at 1:30 pm, and the Public Works and Transportation & Energy committees at 2:30 pm. The Health Committee meeting will begin at 3:30 pm. On Wednesday, October 16, the Public Safety Committee will meet at 9:30 am, followed by a joint meeting of the Economic Development and Government Operations, Personnel, Information Technology and Housing committees at 1:30 pm.
On Wednesday, November 6, at 1 pm, an Operating Budget Meeting is scheduled for consideration of amendments/adoption of budget in Hauppauge. The week of November 18-21, all committees will meet (see the website for dates and times of committees) in preparation for the November 26 General Meeting of the Legislature in Riverhead, which will begin at 9:30 am. Any overrides will be discussed during this meeting and the tax levy will be set.
Tuesday, December 3, there will be a Special Meeting in Hauppauge beginning at 9:30 am to discuss warrants.