The Nassau County Legislature continued a hearing on County Executive Edward P. Mangano’s 2011 proposed budget that went on all day Friday, Oct. 29, and late into Saturday night, eventually passing the $2.6 billion plan along party lines with Halloween approaching and opposing lawmakers accusing that the budget’s “no tax increase” label was just a costume.
As the county executive struggles to keep Nassau County out of bankruptcy with some surprising and painful budgetary moves, several items at the heart of a heated ongoing public debate included the imminent loss of bus service within Nassau, the shifting of tax refund responsibility to schools and local municipalities and a new sewer fee to be imposed on tax exempt entities. These controversial moves and some proposed budget cuts drew a huge crowd to the hearing. Audience members filled the legislative chamber to legal capacity Friday, with many spilling out into the foyer to watch the proceedings on closed circuit TV, waiting hours for a turn to protest inside.
At the most recent village board meeting, the Garden City Board of Trustees continued discussions on how to resolve residents’ complaints about the recently installed Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) by NextG Networks, which are located on public easements in backyards of nine Garden City residents.
At a village meeting earlier in the month, residents questioned the health risks that the DAS could pose to their families and neighbors over the long-term. In an effort to analyze what, if any, the hazards of these DAS may be, Trustees Dennis Donnelly and Nicholas Episcopia proposed a joint motion “to engage an environmental testing firm to conduct samples at all nine NextG locations within the village to document and verify all radio frequencies and/or radiation associated with these emissions and the results of these should be reported back to the village in an expeditious manner,” Donnelly said.
As news of Nassau County’s tax woes continues to make headlines, Garden City School District found itself caught in the crosshairs of more controversy. At last week’s board of education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen addressed the county’s proposed legislation to end the ‘county guarantee,’ where the county pays for its assessment mistakes. The board also discussed the county’s recent admission that it mistakingly taxed its own building generating a staggering bill of $1,277,502 for the Garden City School District.
Dr. Feirsen said the legislation, entitled the Commonsense Act of 2010, would have a potentially adverse effect on Garden City and all Nassau County school districts. Dr. Feirsen, along with Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Albert Chase and School Board Trustees Angela Heineman and Laura Hastings, attended a public hearing to discuss the tax cost shift plan before it is officially voted on by the Nassau County Legislature on Oct. 29.
The Nassau County Executive’s proposal to shift a portion of multi-year tax certiorari settlements to school districts met with opposition at last week’s special meeting during a work session of the Garden City Board of Education. The school board unanimously passed a resolution formally objecting to the county’s action in repealing the Nassau County Tax Refund Guarantee, which holds school districts harmless from payments of property tax claims.
As one of only two counties that perform assessments statewide, Nassau County received permission through a special act of the New York State Legislature to perform property assessments in 1938, according to Garden City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen. As a result, the county assumed responsibility for paying the claims of any successful certiorari suits, which are initiated to say that an individual or property owner’s tax assessment is wrong. Feirsen maintained that the bulk of the claims go to businesses that file as being over assessed. “The county, over the years, has accumulated a substantial amount of debt trying to payback assessment taxes that are refunded to individual business as a result of over assessments,” Feirsen said.
A ‘not in my backyard’ fight is brewing in Garden City as angry residents vented frustrations about the recent NextG Networks cell antenna installations in residential communities at last week’s village board meeting.
It was standing room only as throngs of residents filed in to Village Hall to ask why NextG, a public utility company that utilizes Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to operate wireless networks, placed antenna boxes on public easements in the backyards of nine Garden City residents.
While most homeowners were alarmed about potential dangers and health risks from radio frequencies emitted so close to their homes, others stated how the devices would diminish property values.
Select 13th Avenue residents attended last week’s Mineola board of Trustee’s meeting to explain their continuing discontent with the noise emanating from the Verizon Wireless Plant in Garden City that has been plaguing them since December. Various residents called for Mineola to join them in their possible lawsuit against the Village of Garden City and Verizon.
Mayor Jack Martins was not present at last week’s public meeting but has stated at past meetings that negotiations and talks were going smoothly until the resident filed a claim against said parties. Martins was contacted by a legal representative of unnamed residents on June 15 stating that they’d like to be kept abreast on the situation regarding Verizon, the Village of Garden City and the noise issues that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
For 17 years, the village of Garden City and its residents have debated what to do with landmark St. Paul’s Main Building and Ellis Hall. Last week, residents and non-residents offered varied opinions during the second public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). While many of the speakers were steadfast in their support of saving the iconic building, many others asked the board to consider holding a public referendum to vote on whether or not they would support a bond to save or demolish the structure.
Mayor Robert J. Rothschild opened the hearing by saying it was nice to see that so many citizens from as far as Australia were interested in seeing what happens to St. Paul’s School. With the final comment period ending on Oct. 10, the mayor showed the audience a large pile of emails that he received that afternoon and said they will be responded to and be recorded in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement).
It’s that time of the election year again when incumbents and challengers alike flock to local libraries care of the League of Women Voters to voice their views on current topics and issues surrounding the respective areas they hope to either continue to or to newly represent.
The League of Women Voters of Eastern Nassau played host to Meet the Candidates Night at the East Meadow Library last week. Incumbents and challengers from the 6th and 8th Senate Districts, 17th and 19th Assembly Districts were on hand to take questions from the audience in an effort to clarify their take on Albany, Long Island and more.
The Garden City Board of Education held their first meeting of the school year. The Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen explained the schools’ first week was off to “a smooth start,” he said. “We did quite a number of projects and a lot work over the summer on the buildings, inside and outside the buildings,” he said.
Joseph Chiarelli, construction manager of T.G. Nickel & Associates, updated the status of the middle school parking lot expansion project. “We were fortunate to have a great-weather summer and good contract. We were able to achieve what we set out to. We did substantially complete the parking lot. There’s just a punch-list remaining and remaining miscellaneous items to complete,” he said.
If you want to voice your opinion about the St. Paul’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), time is running out. Residents will have one last chance to speak to the board of trustees during the second public hearing on the DEIS, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.
A packed crowd of Long Islanders turned out for the first public hearing on Aug. 19. While the majority of attendees spoke out in opposition of the demolition of the school, two residents stood their ground and said they were in favor of tearing down St. Paul’s.
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