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Parks & Rec Budget On Deck

Ocker outlines re-allocation and deferment plan

Despite several significant budget revisions, the Garden City Board of Trustees took no action to adopt the proposed 2014-15 budgets presented at a recent study session. Kevin E. Ocker, the chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Cultural and Recreational Affairs, outlined modifications made to the proposed parks and recreation budget since it was last presented.

“Since Feb. 8, our budget requests for the recreation and parks operations and the capital have been modified,” Ocker said. “I want to confirm that our amended requests sustain our diverse level of service in every area. In addition, our general revenue centers, including program revenues, St. Paul’s field house rentals and the St. Paul’s field rentals now project a 5.5 percent increase raised from our original projection of $464,000 in general revenues to now internal revenues to $492,000.”

One of the major proposed changes to the parks and recreation budget is reallocation of capital projects to contractual-service line items. The original capital request was $761,000, but Ocker proposed moving $105,000 of that to contractual services. “Our capital plan had a number of small funding requests, and several of them have been for years now just infrastructure maintenance items that ended up in this capital plan,” he said.

If all of the athletic courts and fields across the village needed to be replaced, that would be a capital expense, Ocker suggested. However, many of the courts and fields just need to be resurfaced from year-to-year. Other items formerly listed as capital requests include repair to the irrigation system at St. Paul’s, estimated at $35,000, and minor heating and ventilating projects, such as small boiler replacement. Projects such as those total about $105,000, which Ocker recommended be re-allocated from capital to contractual services. “Projects that we can handle with contractors by getting quotes [that] are under the $35,000 threshold allows us to keep ahead on repairs of existing structures,” he said.

Ocker also recommended deferring playground equipment replacement apparatus and safety surface at Grove Park, a $75,000 line item, for one more year. Along similar lines, he proposed deferring playground building rehabilitation, specifically upgrading the exteriors, and “take steps accordingly with our in-house people to do the most important repairs,” including minor painting and soffit work, he said.

Ocker’s plan to defer streetscape improvement was met with opposition from some board members. “I really don’t want to defer [streetscape improvements] but in order to meet the budget demands that we are all faced with, we’re going to defer … hardscape improvements to the 7th Street and Franklin Avenue business district,” he said, admitting, “Improvements like that attract people to our community [and] those areas are tired.”

Projects he suggested that need to be addressed but should be deferred include replacement of pavers, many of which are undulating, installation of raised planters and flowering baskets on light poles, increased seeded areas, addition of small white lights to trees, and replacement of benches and waste receptacles.

“Since I’ve been on the board, and this is the sixth budget I’ve sat through, this project gets pushed off each year,” Trustee Dennis C. Donnelly said. “The pavers on 7th Street, [which] get the most wear and foot traffic, are in bad shape­—they are up and down. I’d like for us to take a look at what we get in lawsuits on trip and falls on 7th Street.” He also suggested installation of small white lights on trees be a priority. “I realize the budget is tight, but I think the board should consider this has to get done some point in time.”

Trustee Nicholas P. Episcopia questioned whether enhancements to the village’s business districts could be done gradually. “Yes, it could be phased,” Ocker replied, for example, allocating money for benches one year.

To sum up, Ocker’s revised capital budget request is $256,000, down from $761,000: $100,000 for trees and $156,000 for equipment, including trucks, mowers and a brush chipper.

Trustee Robert A. Bolebruch suggested chopping trees from the proposed capital budget. “I would much rather take $100,000 and plant trees and plant trees next fall or a year from now and deal with the safety of the parks and the safety on 7th Street,” he said. “To me, that is money much better spent.”

News

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Financial Options For Students

Thursday, October 16

Kids In The Kitchen

Friday, October 17

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 20



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