At a Thursday, May 2 village trustees meeting, Trustee Dennis Donnelly read a statement that in part mentioned the possibility of seeing if the model for a dual department of paid and volunteer firefighters remains a viable option for the Village of Garden City.
In February, the board voted by a margin of 6-2 to fire six firefighters and demote one officer to cut an estimated $900,000 from the village budget. The debate over these layoffs has raged ever since, with the two sides digging in. Donnelly’s statement publicly accused New York unions of intimidating volunteer firefighters—and not only those in Garden City.
Number “16” is the next home that needs identification in the Garden City Archives, and can be located anywhere in town.
More historical photos have been digitally archived at the Garden City Public Library by a hard-working volunteer. They can be seen on LongIslandMemories.org, under our library section.
As taxpayers know, the years since the economic downturn that began in 2008-09 and continues today, a myriad of problems have been presented that all municipalities have had to deal with. As custodians of your tax dollars, the Garden City Board of Trustees (BOT) sincerely strives to ensure that your money is spent in the most efficient way possible, while providing the services and quality of life our residents and business community have come to expect.
For the past five years, the BOT has kept the average village budget increase to less than 1 percent. In line with this conservative budgeting, the average tax increase over the past five years was 3.03 percent, and for the last two, 1.71 percent and 1.74 percent respectively. We have accomplished this by working very hard to increase both efficiency and revenues wherever possible. We were aided in this task by our Citizens Budget Review & Advisory Committee, our village staff and interested residents from our POAs. As the chart reflects our spending is less today than it was five years ago. Our village staff is cognizant of our commitment to efficiency and knows that certain changes are necessary to achieve our goals.
When the Garden City High School (GCHS) girls’ varsity softball team decided during a recent home game against Rockville Centre High to dedicate its efforts to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it was as a pink-clad unit. The result was the raising of $1,000 to donate to the foundation for breast cancer research.
This was the fourth annual fundraiser held by the GCHS softball team. Each year the senior members choose a cause to which they donate the money they raise. Last year the team supported the Long Island chapter of the Ronald McDonald House.
When John Watras was recently elected to become the 45th mayor of Garden City, it was the culmination of 18 years of service, rising through the ranks of the Western Property Owners Association (WPOA). To wind up as the head of the village wasn’t exactly in his plans when he started attending WPOA meetings.
“I used to go to the meetings for the Western Property Owners. That was the start. And I used to like all the people there and all of a sudden I got elevated,” he explained. “I became president and when my presidency ended I was pretty much done. Then John Murray, who was the trustee, said I was going to be the next trustee, and that’s how it all got started. In the last couple of years, I came to the realization that I would be mayor. All I really want to do is do a good job and that I gave back what I got out of that town, which is an awful lot.”
The Garden City Historical Society Board of Trustees has committed to a $500,000 capital campaign to engage in a major facelift for the Museum structure on Eleventh Street. This campaign is a monumental task, and the society is asking for the community’s support.
One of the original buildings constructed in Garden City under founder Alexander Turney Stewart, the museum has seen only minimal, minor repairs to the exterior since it was moved to its current location in July 1988. The major scope of renovation and preservation work planned by the society includes: roof and widow’s walk repairs: windows and doors; strip existing paint, prep and restore wood trim; repair soffits; repaint entire structure in period color, and repair driveway and parking.
Now it goes to the public. On Tuesday, May 21, the Garden City Board of Education formally adopted its proposed 2013-14 budget. The $107.6 million proposal will be voted on by residents on May 21.
“The challenge this year, as has been in the past several years... is to balance the needs of our students, the interests of our community, and having an outstanding educational school system with the fact that resources are not limitless,” said Superintendent Dr.Robert Feirsen.
Everyone is looking for ways to stretch their dollars these days, and the new “Friends of the Chamber Merchant Card" is here to help. It will remain valid until December 31, 2014. Fifty-four local chamber members – merchants, professionals and retail service business will welcome your patronage and provide special discounts and benefits when you show your card.
Additionally, 14 chamber members have generously sponsored the card, defraying the cost of printing both the cards and brochures that list the participants and their discounts and special services. Both participants and sponsors may also be found on the chamber’s website: www.gardencitychamber.org. Business may become participants free of charge at any time and will be listed on the chamber’s website and within the Business Bulletin magazine.
With the beginning of spring, there is nothing more seasonal then a barbecue. One Garden City family-owned business decided to make this springtime tradition into an event to help the community.
On April 13 from noon to 4 p.m., Hampton Major Appliances held a free barbecue and charity raffle for all of its customers and any members of the town who wanted to come out. All raffle tickets were $10 and all the money raised went to The Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN), the largest soup kitchen on Long Island. The winner of the raffle took home a $5,000 Wolf Outdoor Grill and the first 100 raffle entries received a $25 Restaurant.com card.
The Garden City Board of Trustees had previously voted to give themselves the ability to override the tax cap if necessary. Now it’s crunch time, as the board works toward a final budget to present to the public.
Not surprisingly, residents are concerned about service cuts, in the areas of street cleaning and waste removal, for example. Village Mayor John Watras said the board was planning to head into executive session Wednesday night, with hopes of having the final numbers available to the public by April 18.
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