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Village Tackles Multitude of Issues at May Board Meeting

The Farmingdale Village Board met on May 4 for their monthly meeting before a small and quiet crowd.

First important business addressed was a contribution for a Long Island Planning Study. Long Island Regional Planning Council is conducting a study of Long Island from Manhattan to Montauk to address issues such as transportation, special projects, etc. The $1.5 million project is being funded by both Nassau and Suffolk Industrial Development Agencies, however they are seeking contributions from local municipalities.

The board reserved decision on this until IDA can share the benefits of the study and further correspondence is received. According to Village Attorney Kevin Walsh, as a village, the board is able to appropriate funds towards regional planning.

The board then approved a contract with the lowest bidder for a fence at Northside Park. The funds being used are part of a $30,000 grant secured by Legislator Dave Mejias. Piil Fence Company was awarded the job for $6,250.

All members of the board voted to increase the Residential Rehabilitation Program income limit from 60 percent of HUD guidelines to 80 percent.

“This will enable people to get much needed repairs done to their homes – roofing, heating, handicap ramps, wheelchair accessibility,” Mayor Butch Starkie said. “This is applicable to any residents who meet the criteria.”

A $2,000 salary increase for Judge Sal Nicosia was voted on unanimously. His new salary is $13,000 per annum. 

“We compared six other villages and found that it [Nicosia’s salary] was one of the lowest in Nassau County,” Deputy Mayor Pat Christiansen said. 

“He hadn’t gotten a raise in 10 years,” added Mayor Starkie.

The resolution to keep Yellow Cab Company as the village’s taxi company franchise was met with a standing ovation from Yellow Cab employees, who then left the meeting. The village accepted proposals for a new taxi company franchise as they hadn’t looked at other companies in several years.

According to Village Clerk Dave Smollett, Yellow Cab has developed a “discount structure for seniors to be able to ride at discounted rate.”

Effective from May 4, senior citizens will pay $1.50 per ride within the village – including the Farmingdale Library, Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas and Farmingdale State College. Rides to areas outside the incorporated village are $2. Rides outside of Farmingdale are 50 percent off the regular fare for seniors. Regular cab rides within the village are $4.

Phil Fortuna, owner of LI Checker Cab, also submitted a request for proposal to Farmingdale Village, which he said, included free rides for seniors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. LI Checker Cab operates out of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Mineola, Garden City and Freeport Villages.

“Competition is good,” he added. “The mayor and the board are not giving the residents a choice. I would’ve rented a store and created jobs.”

Smollett said most villages operate only one taxi cab franchise due to logistical reasons and to make it more convenient for the residents. He added that Yellow Cab’s RFP was the lowest bidder.

According to Smollett, Yellow Cab has 10 licenses for taxis to operate around the village and has been providing services to the village for over 30 years.

Over $60,000 was awarded in tax certs with a decision for $24,000 at 150 Secatogue Ave. tabled. According to the board, the upcoming village reassessment should help with these tax certs.

The board voted to relevy the 2009/10 water tax roll and levy property taxes for 2009/10.

There was a resolution to modify the Dittmeier site plan on a Melville Road property involving Gemma Enterprises. It was agreed for the builder to add landscaping screening on the eastern property line and a frosted glass on the bathroom window. The current vinyl siding is allowed to remain.

Additionally, the board approved a stop sign on Van Cott Avenue at the midway point in the block.

“It’s only temporary,” Mayor Starkie said. “We’ll see if that slows down the speeders.”

Buildings Department Superintendent Ron Craig was not reappointed and the village has yet to name a replacement. The village agreed to hire the consulting firm, CGA Consultants, Inc. to fill the position in the interim.

“They are certified and credentialed,” Mayor Starkie added. “They will be working with Joann Edling [code enforcement officer] on a part-time basis based on an hourly pay with a retainer.”

The hourly rate will be $110 based on a two-month retainer for 16 hours per week. The firm will also be given a fixed rate of $300 for monthly travel expenses.

“We’re possibly looking at re-engineering the operation of that department,” Smollett stated.

“We’re also looking at our [fine] fee structure,” Mayor Starkie added.

Local Law 2, the presumptive law with regard to illegal – non-permitted housing, was discussed at the previous board meeting. The village prosecutor has asked for a hearing with regard to fines for this code violation.

The village board held a hearing addendum to the present local law, which now says “shall be liable for a fine not to exceed $5,000 for the first violation; and fine not to exceed $10,000 for a second and any subsequent violation.”

 Local Law 3 of 2009, to prohibit the parking of automobiles, temporary or otherwise, on lawn areas in residential zones was passed. The exception is when there is a declared emergency.

“The U.S. Open is coming and we don’t want anyone in the parking business,” Mayor Starkie added. “This addresses health, safety and welfare issues.”

Trustee Ralph Ekstrand added that the village has “to be consistent” with this policy. A grace period with notifications being issued is in effect for the month of May.

The board discussed U.S. Open week in the village. Ekstrand mentioned movie nights, entertainment and other events planned for June 15-21.

The board approved the annual Farmingdale Fire Department Memorial Day Parade for Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m. and the use of Gerngras Park for Peanuts Nursery School on May 27.

 

Next Village Board Meeting

The next village meeting will be held on Monday, June 1 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall. Residents are also invited to attend a Work Session at 7 p.m. For more information call 249-0093 or visit www.farmingdalevillage.com.