Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) is optimistic about the financial future of the town despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented. He said he is already thinking of ideas to help small businesses in the future.
Romaine called into a phone conference with members of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce April 6.
He told participants the town board is meeting virtually every day, and he is also connecting with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and other town supervisors on a regular basis.
On the agenda for town board April 6 was whether to keep town beaches open, he said, as health experts were saying the current week could be the worst so far for new coronavirus cases. Later that day the decision was made to close Brookhaven beaches.
Romaine said a few Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department deputies have been working with the town to deliver meals to more than 200 seniors in Brookhaven.
Charlie Lefkowitz, chamber president, asked if the town foresees any financial problems due to the pandemic.
Romaine said while landfill revenues are going down and a shortfall is anticipated, he said the town will not need to raise taxes.
“The town will continue to function,” he said. “We have reserves. We will make it through this. And we do not anticipate … it’s a problem but it’s not going to be a big problem. It’s resolvable, and we’re not going to take it out on the taxpayers.”
The town board voted at a special meeting April 7 to create a post-COVID-19 task force for economic recovery that will aim to revitalize the downtown areas and help small businesses affected by the pandemic, many of which are receiving no income at all during this time.
“Many of these small businesses are mom and pop businesses,” the supervisor said.
Lisa Mulligan, the town director of economic development has been appointed chairwoman. Three individuals will be appointed by the supervisor, and each councilperson will be able to appoint two more. As of press time, no other persons have yet to be nominated to the task force.
On Monday, Lefkowitz said the chamber is willing to be part of a task force, and Romaine said he will take recommendations from the chamber seriously.
“Believe me we will work shoulder to shoulder with you to bring back our local businesses and do everything that we can do legally to help you guys out,” he said. “I know what this means. This is something that no one could have predicted in their lifetime.”
Romaine said business owners and residents can find updates on COVID-19 related issues on the town’s website, www.brookhavenny.gov.