Ritzy Town Hikes Taxes to Cut Deficit

East Hampton trustees raising property taxes by 24 percent

Trustees of an eastern Long Island town where some of the world's most rich and famous converge every summer are raising property taxes by about 24 percent to help cut a $15 million deficit.

The East Hampton Town Board approved a $68.5 million spending plan on Tuesday night by a 3-2 vote.

Town Supervisor Bill McGintee has said rising health care costs for employees and waning tax revenues because of the downturn in the real estate market led to a huge deficit over several years.

Opponents contend mismanagement and overspending are to blame. The town has borrowed the $15 million to close the deficit, but will see higher debt service fees in 2009 because of it.

East Hampton has about 21,000 year-round residents; the population swells to 90,000 in the summer.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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