2011 was the year the state Legislature was finally able to come together, put politics aside, and pass some of the most taxpayer-and business-friendly legislation in decades. Despite these accomplishments, however, from the property tax cap, a reduction in state spending, repeal of the MTA payroll tax, and a reformed tax code, there remains one piece of the people’s business left undone: Medicaid.
With an annual tab of nearly $54 billion, nearly a third of the total state budget, Medicaid continues to be one of the top cost-drivers in New York State. There are currently 4.9 million enrollees in our state, with every indication that this number will only continue to rise. Twenty-five percent of our state population is eligible to receive 33 percent of our state’s spending in 2012. That statistic alone is a bruising example of how poorly the Medicaid system is administered. What’s worse, New York currently spends $1 billion per week on Medicaid, with costs skyrocketing annually.
The Town of Oyster Bay is requesting proposals for the 22-acre expansion of Ellsworth Allen Park from community organizations and residents in Farmingdale. The town attorney, Len Genova, stated that 16 of the 22 acres are available for development (community center, athletic fields, etc.) The remaining six acres cannot be developed because the extensive EPA cleanup required the installation of underground groundwater recharge basins.
Those six acres that cannot be developed are perfect for a proposed dog park. The town can fence that section off, put no structures on that portion and give the community an excellent dog park. Utilizing these six acres ensures no other proposed ideas for the expansion of Allen Park are affected by the dog park as well as allowing every piece of available open space for the benefit of the community.
In the mid 1920s, the Pastor of St. Kilian Church, Rev. Fr. Joseph Haldmaier O.S.B. knew that the growing parish needed a parochial school of its own, believing in what he referred to as the “Domestic Trinity” – home – school – church, three required elements for a parish to continue to thrive. Hence the foundation was laid for what would eventually become St. Kilian School and later in 1992, St. John Baptist De LaSalle.
Each parish (St. James, St. Martin of Tours, St. Kilian, and St. Pius X) has been such an integral contributor to the success of our regionalized school over the past 20 years, and while we may be four separate parishes, we have evolved into one school family where our children are thriving.
In 2005, the U.S. Conference of Bishops identified a plan for developing strategies to keep Catholic elementary education accessible, affordable and available to Catholics of all income levels. The responsibility of our entire parish community is to carry this torch, providing Catholic elementary school education for future generations.
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., along with Senator Owen Johnson (R-West Babylon) and Senator Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), called on the MTA to accelerate the proposed double track project, which would help create jobs, promote economic development, and improve LIRR service for thousands of commuters.
“The double track project would bring tremendous benefits: jobs for residents, revenue for local businesses, and better service for LIRR commuters. It’s also a critical component of the proposed Republic/Route 110 Corridor HUB project, which would help create additional jobs and economic development for Long Island. The MTA should do whatever it can to accelerate this project and make it a reality,” said Senator Fuschillo, chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee. Senator Fuschillo stressed to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota at a recent Transportation Budget Hearing the importance of accelerating the project and called on him to have the MTA do everything possible to expedite the project.
Medicaid is by far New York’s largest unfunded mandate. The total municipal share of Medicaid spending for the 2010-11 fiscal year alone totaled $8 billion. The high cost of Medicaid as well as the way Albany has chosen to fund the program is a major drain on the budgets of local governments and has led to the dramatic increase in Long Island property taxes over the past decade.
That’s why I was encouraged to see that Governor Cuomo included in his Executive Budget a proposal to freeze the local share of Medicaid’s growth rate at 2 percent, putting it in line with the cap on property taxes, which the Legislature passed last year. His proposal is a good first step in addressing the impact the state’s costly Medicaid program has on local governments’ budgets.
(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 14, edition of The Roslyn News. This is the second of two letters from Claudia Borecky. The first letter appeared in last week’s edition.)
County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. He stated in a Long Island Press article, “In this case, we have the ability to protect the taxpayer, increase efficiencies and protect the environment.”
In last week’s letter, I discussed how Nassau County will lose its ability to protect the taxpayer and sale of our STPs will mean a huge increase in our sewage tax bill. Research has also shown that the quality of service often declines when operated by a private system. Although faith in the private sector to outperform government agencies is ingrained in the American psyche, facts disproving that belief are steadily mounting. Private companies seek to maximize profits, often by cutting corners to reduce costs. This can greatly impair service quality and maintenance. Over 60 percent of governments that brought functions back in-house reported this as their primary motivation.
(Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Denenberg Asks AG to Investigate Privatization of Sewage Plants,” that appears in this edition of the Farmingdale Observer. This is one of two letters from Claudia Borecky. Her letter next week will address how she thinks privatizing will affect the efficiency of the sewage treatment plants and the affect on the environment.)
County Executive Mangano is proposing to sell or lease three of the County’s sewage treatment plants (STP), Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove, to fill the county’s budget gap. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Feb. 16, 2010 seeking Public/Private Partnerships (P3) to help fix the County’s fiscal woes. Morgan Stanley won that bid and was paid $24,750 (a bid under $25,000 does not require NIFA approval) to help prepare Requests for Qualifications (RFQ), to seek qualified bidders to purchase or lease our STPs. Three viable entities were found:
The father of America’s interstate highway system, President Dwight Eisenhower, once wrote that its “impact on the American economy the jobs it would produce in manufacturing and construction…was beyond calculation.”
Decades later, those same words hold true as New York faces its own infrastructure and economic crisis. Investing in transportation projects can, and must be a part of the solution to both problems.
But while Eisenhower’s challenge was building a system to bring communities closer together; ours is fixing a system so they don’t drift apart.
As a resident of Farmingdale village, who happens to live near the old Chase bank on Conklin, I had been extremely concerned about a proposed village zoning change. This change would allow for restaurants in all areas currently zoned office/residential.
Why was I concerned? Not because I don’t want change, nor do I believe in NIMBY (not in my back yard), or do I necessarily believe drunks will terrorize children in the neighborhood. But it would clearly change the Village feel we work so hard to maintain. We plant trees and flowers, hang holiday decorations, even tried to beautify Main Street with brick and lampposts.
Have you had the pleasure recently of trying to apply for a job? Gone are the days of speaking to a real person and meeting face to face to interview. Today almost all applications are processed through websites.
Yesterday, I was following up on a job posting I found with a local bank here in Farmingdale. I visited the branch to ask about the position. I was told that the position was in that branch but couldn’t be told any more information than that. I was directed to their website to fill out all my information there. This process, which I experienced at other times demands the following: creating an ID and password, your name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number, and an evaluation test (takes more than one hour to complete).
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