As the vice chairperson of the Citizens’ Budget Review & Advisory Committee, (CBRAC) I’d like to clarify a few items that have been published lately and equally important, I urge my fellow residents to get informed and make sure they vote on March 15.
The CBRAC is a volunteer committee, members being elected by the four Property Owners’ Associations (POAs) of Garden City. Oversight is provided by the Joint Conference Commission (JCC). The CBRAC, an outgrowth of the POAs, is a way for residents to be involved and informed about our village’s finances and underlying operations since we update our POA membership regularly and make our annual report available. The CBRAC serves as a great vehicle for transparency and grassroots citizen advocacy. Each member proactively applied for a spot to serve and was vetted by the POA and JCC, based on our experience and time commitments. The CBRAC are not elected officials, so we do not set policy, but we use our collective industry experience as financial experts to make observations and recommendations to the village department managers, the village administrator and the BOT on financial and strategic management issues. All of our 2010 recommendations were thoughtfully considered, many were adopted in various forms and we’re off to a great start in 2011. This year’s CBRAC is comprised of six returning members and two new members, who are listed below. To be clear on some claims being made — Ray Rudolph and Ron Tadross were never members of nor involved with CBRAC. Tom Trypuc was last a member of CBRAC in 2008 for the June 2008 thru May 2009 budget year.
At the Board of Trustees (“Board”) meeting held on Jan. 21, the Mayor, Trustee Cavanaugh, Trustee Episcopia and Counsel went to great lengths to justify the Board’s approval of the three-year CSEA contract.
When I asked, “What are the total labor costs (wages, health and pension) for each year of this contract,” no one could answer the question. How can the Board approve a three-year contract and not know the answer to that question? Do we operate our businesses and households this way?
Trustee Cavanaugh said the contract is “very good… for the village and employees.” He said that CSEA employees, from May 2000 to November 2010, received a 38 percent wage increase versus a 34.4 percent rise in the cost of living. He then said, “I don’t know the economics of everyone in the village” but that nearly everyone has achieved a better economic gain than the CSEA employees, except maybe “people on fixed incomes.” (CSEA wages actually rose 45 percent during this period.)
Feb. 4, will mark the seventh annual American Heart Association National Wear Red Day for Women to raise awareness that cardiovascular disease is the number one health threat facing women today. Unfortunately, most people still do not know that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for women. These two diseases kill more than 480,000 women in the United States every year; more than the next five causes of death combined, including all cancers. On Long Island, more than 5,600 women die of heart disease and stroke each year.
One of the components of Go Red for Women will be National “Wear Red Day for Women,” on Feb. 4. On Friday, Feb. 4, wear something red — a red dress, tie, jacket, scarf, hat, blouse or shirt. Go Red For Women and show your commitment to reducing risk, improving health and saving women’s lives. Some of the activities planned for this year can be viewed on their website www.americanheart.org and www.goredforwomen.org.
I would like to advise you that the board of trustees will be conducting work sessions to review the proposed 2011/12 Operating/Capital Budgets on:
Saturday, January 22, 8:30 a.m. (Tour of Facilities and Capital Plan Presentation)
Thursday, February 10, 7 p.m. (Budget Study Work Session 1)
Saturday, February 12, 8:30 a.m. (Budget Study Work Session 2)
Thursday, February 17, 7 p.m. (Budget Study Work Session 3 — Final)
(Editor’s Note: The following is a joint announcement submitted by the four Property Owners’ Associations of The Village of Garden City.)
In January, all four Garden City Property Owners’ Associations (POAs) announced their respective candidates for four trustees and a mayor. These candidates were endorsed by their respective POA Boards, Nominating Committees, Garden City Residents at the Electors’ Meetings, as well as fellow Board of Trustee members and Committees & Commissions. With the upcoming March 15, village-wide election approaching, the POAs remind all residents that each of these candidates will represent not only their respective sections of the village, but also will responsibly represent the village as a whole. These five well-respected gentlemen were chosen from a pool of candidates because they are the best qualified, experienced, and possess a wide variety of expertise, with varying levels of tenure on the board and in other areas of volunteer community service to the Village of Garden City.
February is designated as African American History Month. In the Town of Hempstead we are proud to acknowledge that designation and also to pay tribute to the many African American men and women who make a difference in our township.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Town of Hempstead will host our annual African American History Celebration. Sheena Wright, President and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation, will be our guest speaker for this very special event, which this year will be themed “The Start of a New Decade: Believe • Build • Empower.”
The Community Agreement (“Agreement”) was signed on May 15, 1919. It has been amended several times to conform to village law, as well as to increase the number of trustees from five to eight. The trustees and the mayor are elected to serve two-year terms.
Office of Mayor: The mayor is the chief executive officer of the village. The mayor appoints the village administrator, village officers and counsel, among others. The mayor conducts the labor negotiations. The mayor establishes policy and is responsible for the governance of the village.
Two years is too short a time for a mayor to govern. The first year he/she is learning the job and the second year he/she is ending the term. I recommend that the office of mayor be a four-year term as the office of governor, county executive and mayors of other villages.
A reminder to residents who have a natural Christmas tree or wreath to dispose of, please leave them at the curb on your regularly scheduled recycling collection day. They will be collected by the Department of Public Works and offered to other agencies for beach erosion control or rendered at the Village Yard for use around trees and shrubs as mulch.
Please assist the village by removing tree stands, strands of electric lights and plastic bags from the discarded trees and cooperate with your neighbors by disposing of them only on the scheduled recycling collection days.
If you have an artificial Christmas tree for disposal, please call the Sanitation Department for a “Special Pickup” at 465-4031 or 465-4032.
The effects of the recent blizzard presented many challenges to residents and our business community in coping with daily activities. I want to publicly acknowledge and thank the numerous employees of the Incorporated Village of Garden City and many volunteer firefighters who left the comfort and safety of their homes and families for long hours at a time to provide for our safety and to open roads and parking fields to make them accessible for emergency vehicles during the storm and private vehicles immediately after the snowfall.
Special thanks is also due to all of the residents who took the time to shovel snow from around their fire hydrants by their homes in order to make them accessible to our firefighters responding to an emergency where every minute counts.
Garden City is a place of enduring beauty but it’s our people who help others that make it so special. Thanks to all.
I would like to thank everyone who generously donated to my Eagle Scout project benefiting the Gerald J. Ryan Outreach Center. With your help, I was able to deliver over 1,500 pounds of food and $700 in monetary donations to the Outreach Center. I would like to give a special thanks to Mrs. Kate Kern, Mrs. Lyn Beck and the Faith Formation program at St. Anne’s for supporting my project by delivering fliers and collecting food. Thanks to all for your generosity.
Rob Adams, Troop 56
Garden City Community Church
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