The Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale (CCAF) held their monthly meeting Thursday, April 27, at the Community Center in Allen Park. Two significant presentations were made regarding the proposed 2006/07 Farmingdale Schools budget and the future development of Farmingdale.
Charles Gosline delivered a 15-minute presentation on "empowering the civic structure of the Farmingdale community." Gosline, a CCAF member and regular attendee of Farmingdale Village Board meetings, has a 12-member committee whose goal is to devise a plan for local municipalities.
"Farmingdale is one of the most fractured communities as far as government is concerned," Gosline said. "We need to help ourselves." He believes that if everyone comes together, that they can get a plan developed, just as well as the "fractured" local government can.
Gosline insisted he is not reinventing the wheel, as plans include duplicating methods already in practice in other states. His main concern is that there are not enough housing units for the number of people in Farmingdale, and emphasized that this isn't the only community where this problem occurs.
"Twenty percent of 18-to 34-year-olds have left Long Island over the past decade," according to Gosline.
He hopes to grow a Farmingdale community landtrust, where the community would acquire land in as many ways as possible, through either gift or purchase. This includes the redevelopment of the Liberty Site where Gosline would like to see an "intergenerational community center" built.
CCAF members seemed enthused with his presentation.
Members were also pleased with the following presentation on the Farmingdale Schools budget for 2006/07. Superintendent Dr. Roberta Gerold, along with Assistant Superintendent for Business John Lorentz were present to discuss the plan, which includes a 3.5 percent tax levy. This represents a .02 percent difference from a contingent budget, making it the lowest increase in 12 years.
The 2006/07 budget will include a $972,300 replacement of the 54-year-old heating system at Albany Avenue Elementary School.
"There is only a $1 to $2 difference between the approved and contingent budget for each homeowner depending on what your taxes are," said Lorentz.
Lorentz is hoping those numbers will make for a larger approval and turnout at the polls this year, as opposed to the minimal 36-vote approval a year ago. He emphasizes that "a vote this year is a vote for your community."
If the contingency budget is put into place, the district would then have to charge for community use of district buildings and fields, making things more difficult for Farmingdale baseball, soccer and all outside clubs.
CCAF members were certainly satisfied with the proposed budget, as one member added, "I never vote for approval, and I am actually thinking about it this year."
The vote will take place at the Howitt Middle School East Gymnasium from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the May 16, and if you have not yet registered to vote, you can do so with the district clerk at Howitt's administrative offices through May 11.
CCAF President Michael Grello wrapped up the meeting with a brief discussion that centered around an ongoing graffiti and gang tags problem in Farmingdale. Grello said there are regularly two unmarked police cars in the areas between Kent Street and Main Street to try and track the perpetrators down.
One CCAF member expressed discontent with the flood of cars in the streets in his area of Farmingdale, due to what they said was the village board approving the demolition of 11 homes and construction of 47. Pleas for a moratorium in the village will be voted on at a future Farmingdale Village Board meeting.
The next CCAF meeting will be Thursday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Allen Park Community Center. For more information or to join visit www.ccaf-civic.org or email email@example.com. Elections for secretary and recording secretary will be held at their June monthly meeting.