NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — After decades in a fiscal crisis, and with fees rising for diminishing services, many Nassau County taxpayers are questioning why, at this time, local legislators think they deserve to double their salaries.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the debate is raging on the streets of Long Island.

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“I think a lot of people deserve a pay raise, but doubling a salary seems a little ridiculous to me,” Cassie Lynch said.

“I don’t think a politician should be able to arbitrarily give themselves a pay raise,” Tracy Fallon added.

It’s a part-time job, but more than full time work, said Nassau County legislators who unanimously voted themselves a dramatic pay raise, nearly doubling their salary to $75,000. It would be their first pay hike in 20 years.

“Everyone’s upset when they hear someone’s getting a pay increase, but if they reflect on two decades of non-pay increased, they will realize this is the fair thing,” Judith Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said.

Some politicians said it is impossible to bring in the best and brightest given their current wages.

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A Nassau legislator makes $39,500 compared to $99,783 in Suffolk, and $112,500 on the New York City Council.

“The institution of the county legislature warrants a fair compensation, so you can also attract quality and key people,” Francis Becker (R-Lynbrook) said.

The proposed hike comes days after the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the state monitoring board in charge of the county’s finances, threatened to impose spending cuts if the fiscally struggling county is unable to balance its budget.

“If I could say it’s warranted it would make sense, but I don’t know what is,” one taxpayer said.

There is recourse. The pay hike would not kick in until 2018, giving unhappy voters a chance to kick out their legislators.

Under the law part-time legislators are allowed to hold jobs in the private sector.

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