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Letter: Garden City — A Great Village

(Editor’s Note: Village Trustee Dennis Donnelly submitted the following letter.)

In recent months Mr. Ron Tadross and Mr. Ray Rudolph have been critical of our school Superintendent, school board president, the board of education, the mayor, village administrator, director of Public Works, director of Parks and Recreation, village auditor, commissioner of police, fire captain, village counsel, director of buildings, the board of trustees, the POAs, and the last 20 years of trustees.

Both men on occasion attend Board of Trustees meetings, and each sporadically attends POA meetings. Mr. Rudolph has yet to ask a question at any of these meetings.

Neither man serves on ANY village committee/board or commission. Neither has ever applied to be a member of the Zoning, Architectural Review, Planning, Environmental, Traffic or Property Owners Boards. (Mr. Tadross did apply to the Nominating Committee of the Estates POA but was not chosen as a candidate last year.)

During the approximately two years that Mr. Tadross and Mr. Rudolph have offered their opinions on village and school issues, not once has there been even a scintilla of positive advice. They have criticized every facet of village life. Last year they predicted a 10 percent increase in village taxes when in reality it was 2.2 percent. They constantly harp on pension & health care costs, which are not controlled by the village. N.Y. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli administers the N.Y.S. pension system. The health care system is the “Empire Plan,” which government employees are entitled to join.

These gentlemen have said Garden City should have a paid mayor and that the Community Agreement (which has prevented partisan politics in our village) should be eliminated. For the last 91 years, Garden City has avoided the gridlock that has gripped Washington, Albany, and even closer to home, Nassau County. The BOT has always done what it believed was best for Garden City, without party bosses or political parties dictating policy. The trustees may disagree with each other on individual issues but in the end each trustee is doing what he believes is best for our village.

These are difficult times for everyone but the quality of life and inherent nature of our village has remained near constant. We have been able to maintain services and keep our residents safe due to the diligent work of our village employees. Can we do better? Is of course a valid question? The village is always looking to improve operations. More services have been outsourced, collaborations with other governments and the school district have been increased, many of the recommendations of the Citizen’s Budget Review Committee have been implemented, we are utilizing volunteer insurance executives to review all village coverages, and we will be working with Adelphi University on the SCOPE (Strategic Core Operations Planning Endeavor) project to review and revise village financial reporting systems, marketing efforts at the pool and tennis, operations at key Public Works programs and Environmental opportunities.

Last year, the BOT worked to keep the budget growth to an absolute minimum and they will be looking closely at every dollar spent by the village to ensure that the residents get the best municipal services at the least possible cost.

Mr. Tadross and Mr. Rudolph seem to be dissatisfied with every aspect of village service. I urge them to offer suggestions rather than just criticism. I know the thousands of hours of volunteer time residents put in at POAs, commissions, boards, and school boards, PTA’s and citizen’s advisory committees are all with the best interests of our neighbors in mind. These volunteers are lawyers, accountants, bankers, business executives, financial services people, architects, and professional people. I find it amazing that any intelligent person would believe these hundreds of volunteers are all marching to some distant drummer blindly pushing Garden City into bankruptcy.

This is a great village, let’s all work to keep it that way.

Dennis Donnelly