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."