Some local residents may be poised to cash in on some of New York State’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds. Michael Caplice, the Long Island Representative for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, recently met with Stewart Manor Mayor James J. Kelly to announce that many Stewart Manor residents are owed money. Caplice will be on site at the Stewart Manor Village Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from noon until 2 p.m. to help residents determine if they are owed money.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the State Comptroller’s Office in this effort to help our village residents with the process of first determining if they are owed any of the state’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds, and then with claiming any funds that they are owed,” said Mayor Kelly.
After nearly a month-long break, the Garden City Board of Trustees reconvened for their first meeting of 2011. After an opening moment of silence to remember victims of the shootings in Arizona, Mayor Robert J. Rothschild announced that the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) contract was unanimously approved and ratified by the board of trustees. The news met with a mixed reaction from citizens, who offered praise, criticism and suggestions.
The mayor stated that on Dec.16, 2010, the board entered into an executive session and, at that time, they reviewed the provisions of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Incorporated Village of Garden City and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) regarding a contract period from June 1, 2010, through and including May 1, 2012.
Several riled up residents attended the board of trustees meeting last week to continue initiating discussions regarding NextG Network’s Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that were installed in the backyards of nine homeowners in Garden City this past summer. Some residents raised questions about additional DAS being installed in other villages across Long Island, while others testified to the negative impact the antennas have on property values.
Last year, the village board responded to the concerns of residents and directed village staff to identify a professional engineering firm and obtain a proposal to perform a series of detailed tests within the rear yards and homes that are adjacent to the nine sites where NextG Networks installed antennas to rear yard utility poles in order to document radio frequency (RF) emissions. On Nov. 4, the board approved engaging VitaTech Engineering, LLC of Fredericksburg, VA, to perform the tests and submit a report of the findings at cost not exceeding $17,000.
Animal rescue organization, Rescue Ink, headquartered at Jo-Mar Dog & Cat Grooming in Floral Park, recently received a $5,000 donation from Dianne and Margaret Fleming, both professional artists and longtime residents of Garden City.
After 55 years, they recently sold their home located on St. Paul’s Place, with the assistance of Daniel Gale/Sotheby’s International Realty in Garden City. The former village residents said they “wished to leave a piece of ourselves behind,” to continue their concern and care for animals and chose Rescue Ink to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their home.
“Besides offering our personal contribution to continue their great work helping homeless or injured animals, we hope this inspires others to consider this charity upon their move or any other opportunity that arises. We were happy to share our good fortune with them,” Diane and Margaret Fleming said.
It’s official. After launching his campaign in March 2010, standing outside train stations, restaurants and local businesses and after a long and arduous court battle, Jack Martins can take the “-elect” off of the end of his new job title.
Former Mineola Mayor Jack Martins was sworn in as the Seventh District senator last Tuesday. Martins was accompanied by his wife Paula and the rest of the Martins family as he took the oath of senator around noon Tuesday.
Before Martins was sworn in, Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) cited “spectacular wins throughout the state,” which garnered applause from the crowd of about 200 people. Skelos was sworn in as Senate majority leader last Wednesday.
In the aftermath of last Sunday’s blizzard, Stewart Manor residents made lemonade out of lemons—or in this case, ice pops out of icicles. The magic of Christmas remained in the air, as residents enjoyed unexpected downtime with friends and family.
“It’s Christmas again?” asked a bewildered 4-year-old, as he peered out the window of his Carlton Terrace home at the fresh-fallen snow. “The kids were happy,” said his mom, Mara Drobinko. “[My son] thought it was a do-over!”
Elton Road resident Kathleen Tubridy shared similar sentiments. “The kids were excited,” she said. Being snowed in was a treat, after the mad scramble leading up to the holidays. “It was nice because we were forced to relax. The kids had some downtime to enjoy their Christmas gifts,” she added.
As 2010 came to a close, the ultimate fate of St. Paul’s Boys School in Garden City still remained a hot topic of discussion for the Garden City Village Board of Trustees and residents. After the board entertained a period of public hearings and commentary on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement this fall, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on demolition is anticipated to be ready by the next board of trustees meeting in January, according to Village Counsel Gerard Fishberg.
Trustee Laurence Quinn raised the issue of ongoing costs for preparation of the FEIS during the last board meeting of the year. Prior to approving a bill in the amount of $11,206 from Sive, Paget & Riesel, an environmental firm hired to prepare the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the FEIS, Quinn asked when the board anticipated that billings would finally end.
‘You can’t cap what you can’t control,’ was the mantra of a delegation of mayors from across New York State, who recently descended upon Garden City’s Village Hall to discuss recommendations of New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials (NYCOM) Mayors’ Task Force on Mandate and Property Tax Relief.
Earlier this year, NYCOM formed a working task force of 20 mayors to come up with a set of mandate relief proposals that they say must be adopted by the state legislature prior to considering any form of a property tax cap. During a press conference, Sam Teresi, NYCOM president and mayor of the city of Jamestown, NY, explained that the task force’s recommendations focus on first reforming the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York, in particular the many mandates on local governments pertaining to collective bargaining and managing workforce costs.
Teresi stated that the report entitled, You Can’t Cap What You Can’t Control, was built on a series of fundamental and simple foundations; namely, that property taxes in the State of New York are too costly. “Whether it is in the 62 cities, the 555 villages, the 900 towns, the several hundred school districts, special taxing jurisdictions, property taxes are simply too high in New York State and are one of the leading causes for taking what I believe is the greatest state and the greatest country in this world and making us unattractive and uncompetitive for business development,” Teresi said.
A variety of topics were discussed at the board of education’s final meeting of the year on Dec. 14. Much of the first half of the meeting focused on the progress of current and upcoming bond projects. The board also discussed the status of the district’s Energy Performance Contract and plans for the district to explore creating a Certiorari Reserve Fund.
Gary Sheedy and project managers from BBS Architects attended the meeting to update the board on several initiatives funded by the $3.6 million bond passed by residents last year. Sheedy announced that the bus garage modular office building has been approved by the state and the project will be put out to bid after Jan. 1, 2011. In addition, the high school roof project is almost complete. “There are still some work that has to be done, some punch list items. That work will be done over the next two weeks. Once that’s complete, then we will be able to close out that project,” Sheedy said.
It was a glee-filled afternoon last Sunday, Dec. 12, at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, when recording artist and Long Island tenor Michael Amante offered a powerful and touching performance during his fifth annual holiday and veterans tribute concert, featuring special guests soprano Marissa Famiglietti and the Garden City Middle School Festival Chorus, who appeared in their concert stage debut.
Opening with Christmas favorite Joy to the World, along with a host of other festive holiday selections, Amante showcased his remarkable ability to perform a wide variety of musical genres from Puccini to pop. One of the afternoon’s highlights was when Amante paid special homage to U.S. disabled veterans in a rendition of the U.S. Armed Forces Medley, which featured songs such as Caissons Go Rolling Along, Anchors Aweigh, Army Air Corps Song, The Marines Hymn, TAPS and America the Beautiful.
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