The new Farmingdale Village Board presided over a small audience at their April 17 meeting, which focus was the public hearing on the 2006/07 budget.
Mayor George Graf swears in new Village Attorney Kevin Walsh.
Before hearing residents on this issue, Mayor George Graf swore in Village Attorney Kevin Walsh. Walsh's predecessor, Gregory Carman, did not seek reappointment this year.
Farmingdale Baseball League was granted permission to hold their Annual Parade on Sunday, April 30 at 2 p.m., beginning at Howitt Middle School. Farmingdale Community Summit Council's request to hang a banner across Main Street to advertise their Health Fair and Expo was also granted. The Expo will be held on Thursday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at the Farmingdale High School. United Methodist Church's request to hold a car wash on Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. was also granted, pending they change the location to the parking lot behind CVS. The residents of Doud Street were also granted permission to hold a block party on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
They also approved three building permits for demolitions, interior renovations to an office and converting a detached garage to a one-family dwelling. These approvals sparked comments from two Dwayne Street residents who questioned residential subdivisions and their impact on the village's future. The construction of two new homes on Dwayne Street was approved at the April 17 board meeting.
"It is obscene," one of Dwayne Street residents said. "Each lot here is a different size and that is part of the charm. The charm is going to be gone soon."
Newly elected Trustee Butch Starkie said that the initiated construction is "people doing it out of their own right."
"The board is well aware of it and we're working on it," he added.
Mayor Graf suggested the residents attend Planning Board meetings and voice their opinions when the permits are first applied for.
The board then held a public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant, which is a Nassau County Consortium Grant given to the village to enhance various areas.
Four suggestions from the Department of Public Works and Village Clerk Dave Smollett on how to use the $60,000 grant included: black ornamental fencing along the gazebo at a cost of $10,000, updated landscaping on the Village Green at a cost of $15,000, six Welcome to Farmingdale signs at a total cost of $15,000 and digital signs outside Village Hall and the Farmingdale Fire Department at a cost of $20,000.
"I think the Village Green would serve more residents than the digital sign," newly elected Trustee Pat Christansen said. "Take out the sign and put the $20,000 toward landscaping the Village Green."
After some discussion and input from Trustee Starkie, who owns a landscaping business, it was decided that is how the money should be divided.
In it's 32nd year, this grant was partially made possible by the efforts of Legislator Dave Mejias. While it still needs to go through a legislative approval process, Mejias later told the Farmingdale Observer he would talk to the Economic Development Committee, of which he is chairperson, and "make sure that it happens."
"I would make sure that Farmingdale gets what it needs to get," he added. "It is a team effort."
The proposed 2006/07 Village of Farmingdale budget of $5,382,634 in expenditures represents an increase of 0.45 percent over 2005/06. $3,295,349 of the proposed budget needs to be raised by property taxes, representing a 4.27 percent increase over last year's budget. While the village is utilizing a $150,000 surplus toward this year's budget, rising energy, healthcare and retirement costs are the driving force behind the increase.
"We are continuing with an emphasis on infrastructure and technology," Mayor Graf said. "We are also keeping in line with the inflation rate."
Taxes per $100 of net assessed value of a home are $17.37, which is a 3.64 percent change over last year.
Upon reviewing building permit fees in the proposed budget and those collected in the past, Dwayne Street resident Annemarie Edwards noted that the amount of money raised by the village to demolish old buildings and construct new ones "seemed insignificant."
"Our village is an attractive place for builders and I can see why - it's so inexpensive to build here," she added.
Mayor Graf responded that the Superintendent of Buildings Ron Craig "runs a tight ship" and "fees were not being collected in the past" before Craig was appointed one year ago. He also noted that fees were increased to be in line with those charged by the Town of Oyster Bay.
"It has never been more expensive to build a house in the village than it is now," Mayor Graf added.
Village resident and recent trustee candidate for trustee Joseph Diurno said it "was very interesting dialogue that went back and forth" about the budget and suggested the board "think outside of the box" by dropping the budget by 5 percent.
"Let's do something proactive," he added. "Is it possible?"
Mayor Graf responded by saying "no, it's not possible", however he referred to the village eliminating three department of public works positions last year.
"Our job is servicing the village," he stated.
"The mayor and the board do not want to sacrifice quality of service," the village clerk added.
The mayor also noted various infrastructure repairs that need to be made, including painting the water tower and rebuilding a department of public works building that partially collapsed.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Fred Zamparelle said in 2004/05 his funding requests dropped 3.24 percent and 4 percent last year.
Concerned Citizens of Farmingdale President Mike Grello addressed the board and attendees by saying the 3.64 percent increase is "right around the consumer price increase and cost of living increase."
"We are doing such a great job here with code enforcement," he added. "I think you should all be commended."
Village Clerk Smollett later confirmed that the board approved and adopted the budget on April 25.
The next trustees' meeting will be held on Monday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. At that meeting public hearings will also be held for a special use permit to build a 16-unit condominium complex at 776-780 Fulton St. and the future use of the The Downtown on Main Street. For more information visit www.farmingdalevillage.com.