Such pleas to dial back the budget were echoed by several other speakers.
"My sister works for Manhattan College. She did not get a cost of living increase last year, and she's is not getting a cost of living increase this year," said Jared King. "That is how the private sector is dealing with the economic situation."
The budget also levies a set of new fees that would raise an expected $220,00 for the town. Included are a false alarm fee for the police department and an increase in dog licensing fees. The Parks and Recreation Department would also increase fees and make other changes for an estimated $22,000 in revenue.
Included in those changes would be increased fees for field usage for $7,000 in revenue. Scott Bonanno objected to these changes, calling it unfair to levy them on a class of users.
"It's specifically targets youth-based organizations," he said.
Director of Parks and Recreation Nan Lanahan said fees would be increased for youth nonprofit organizations and adult leagues. They haven't been raised since the town instituted fees in 2007, and the cost of maintaining the fields (materials and labor) has risen since then.
But it wasn't just the often-controversial topics of raises, taxes and fees that drew public comment. The tentative budget includes a spending plan for the next few years that lays out how the town should borrow and spend on upcoming projects. Messina had previously called it a capital plan, but on Wednesday admitted it doesn't quite reach that level.
"It was probably stating a bit more than I should have that we have a capital plan in our budget, but we do have a capital component," he said.
Resident Bob Jazinski said while bonding for big projects is a good idea, he warned against going overboard on borrowing.