On Tuesday, Feb. 26 the Garden City Board of Education held its second meeting in the budget review process. This particular presentation focused on the non-instructional components for 2013-14. The proposed overall budget is $107,930,252 that is part of the budget-to-budget increase of 3.56 percent; which results in a projected tax levy increase (with STAR) of 3.86 percent against a maximum allowable tax levy of 3.91 percent.
There are three key drivers primarily responsible for increasing the size of the budget. The first are pension cost hikes that increased from 12.3 percent to 16.5 percent for teachers and administrators and 18.9 percent to 20.9 percent for all other employees. Then there is debt service—payments for bonds approved by the community in 1998, 2005 and 2009. The good news here is that debt service is slated to decline beginning in 2015. Most onerous is the tax certioraris, which found Nassau County shifting responsibility for paying in errors in the county’s assessments to schools districts. Along with covering the cost of these incorrect assessments, there are other expenditures involved as well. Coupled with pension cost hikes, the other state-mandated cost, it adds up to large amount for the district to cover according to Dr. Robert Feirsen, the evening’s first presenter and the school district superintendent.
Though he has to contend with Tom Suozzi to challenge Ed Mangano for the Nassau County seat, Democrat Adam Haber said he knows what will happen.
“I’m not going to get the nomination,” he said in a sitdown with Anton Newspapers last week. “I’m going to run a primary. I’m going to do exactly what Suozzi did against [Thomas] DiNapoli. He didn’t get the nomination. He ran a primary and I’m going to win the primary.”
Noise was the order of the night at the Garden City Board of Trustees meeting at Village Hall on Tuesday. Not from any sort of spirited debate between board members and the public; rather, a bit of noise about noise itself.
Specifically, the noise of standby generators. Resident Amanda Mancuso asked the board to reconsider the decibel rating restrictions for such generators.
For many in Nassau County, the lights went out last October when Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the East Coast. For some, the lights are still out as many communities are still trying to rebuild from the destruction left by the storm. Months later, fellow Americans are doing their part and proving that actions do speak louder then words.
Last month, a group of 40-50 volunteers stopped by Tanner’s Pond Environmental Center’s Garden City Bird Sanctuary to do their part. The volunteers, stationed on Long Island through a FEMA sponsored AmeriCorps project are full-time workers and devote their days off to help remove the damage that Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor’easter had left.
The probability of former Nassau County Supervisor Tom Suozzi getting his old job back from Edward Mangano will hinge on how he handles the bane of any Nassau resident’s existence—taxes.
During a visit last week to the Anton Community Newspapers’ office in Mineola – days after he announced his decision to run - Suozzi was pointed in his criticism of the county’s desire to pass the County Guarantee Reform Act, which makes schools, villages and towns pay their share of tax certiorari refunds for incorrect assessments.
The Garden City school board has proposed a budget that would increases taxes by nearly 4 percent for the 2013-14 year.
The board presented its first recommendations for the proposed budget, which is $107.9 million, an increase of $3.7 million from last year. The proposed budget carries a tax increase of 3.86 percent.
Emotions remain high nearly a week after a raucous Garden City village board meeting at which trustees voted to lay off six firefighters and demote one officer. With the standing-room-only crowd of residents and firefighter families spilling into the hallway of village hall at the Thursday evening meeting, the board voted 6-2 to make the cuts, in an effort to save more than $900,000.
“The model we need is to have eight [firefighters] during the day, eight during the night, and a vacation relief guy for nights and days, plus three on disability. That’s 21, and now we have 26 plus five,” Deputy Mayor/Fire Commissioner John Watras told the board. “We’re actually going down to 21 and four, but we really have 18 firefighters that are available to show up.”
Before Morris Moinian’s Manhattan-based Fortuna Realty Group purchased the Garden City Hotel from the Nelkin Family in June 2012, rumors ran rampant. There was hearsay of Donald Trump entering the bidding fray while others wondered aloud about the fate of the long-serving staff. In the subsequent months, news about the hotel was scarce although announcements were made about more than 90 percent of employees getting rehired after reapplying for their jobs. Other news included the hiring away from Hilton Hotels of J. Grady Colin to be the hotel’s new general manager and that a new full-service spa would open in 2014.
On Jan. 30, the Garden City Chamber of Commerce hoped to dispel some of the mystery and intrigue that’s been hovering over this iconic landmark when its 2013 kickoff luncheon was hosted at the hotel itself. The turnout was healthy for this event whose theme was “The Garden City Hotel: What Lies Ahead? ” and guest speakers were Fortuna Realty Group Head of Acquisitions and Asset Management Ashish Lall and Colin.
Three Garden City Property Owners’ Associations ran run-off elections on Tuesday, Jan. 29 due to unprecedented challenges by two residents and a current trustee.
Garden City operates under a non-political form of government called the Community Agreement, with origins dating back to 1919. The mayor and board of trustees, as well as members of various boards and commissions, are village residents who are nominated by four POAs (Western, Estates, Central and Eastern) and serve without compensation. This is a typically unchallenged process, though the last two years have resulted in challenges and run-off elections.
The incumbents, in both the mayoral and two trustee elections garnered the winning number of votes and will be on the official village election ballot in March.
John Watras, of the Western run-off, received 206 votes while Larry Quinn earned 103 votes. In the Estates trustee election, John DeMaro secured 335 votes versus the 208 Greg Blair received. In the Eastern trustee run-off Dennis Donnelly earned 441 votes while Francine Ryan garnered 236 votes.
John Watras, though pleased with the results, said that the election was all about fiscal responsibility and doing the right thing for the town, seniors and all residents to preserve the villages’ traditions and enhance new ideas.
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