Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove City Council meeting opened on a solemn note on Tuesday, April 29, as Mayor Reginald Spinello and members of the council took a few minutes to honor the late Councilman Nicholas DiLeo, who died on April 21. A bouquet of flowers was placed next to his name plate and a moment of silence was held for him before the start of the meeting.
“We are here tonight with heavy hearts,” said Mayor Spinello. “We lost a good friend and we will continue to pay our respects.”
“Nick was a friend...he respected everyone’s opinions and views,”said Tenke. “He was more than a councilman: he was a businessman, and a family man...he loved this community and viewed it as an extended family...it is a tremendous loss.” He noted DiLeo’s
sense of humor and related some stories about how he could “make you feel better when you were down.”
“He was a Glen Cover who served the community well; I will miss him terribly,” Tenke said.
Former Councilman Tony Jimenez also said a few words. “Nick was a good friend of mine; we worked together for eight years. He always voted with his heart, but he was a goof ball, too.”
Jimenez said that DiLeo’s standard greeting was always, “How’s the family?” and that when the same was asked of him, it was “like pulling the trigger...he’d smile and pull out the latest pictures of his grandchildren. The community lost a good man and we will miss him greatly.”
Councilman Michael Famiglietti thanked the mayor for “leading us through this difficult time.” The mayor then explained the process for filling the empty seat: the mayor and council will appoint a person to fill the seat until the general election in November. He said that nothing has been discussed yet regarding who that person might be.
Two public hearings were on the evening’s agenda, the first regarding the placement of stop signs at an intersection on Morgan Island. After some discussion about the necessity of creating a three-way stop at Southland Drive and Soundbeach Drive, the ordinance passed, to the relief of most of the residents present at the meeting.
“That is a really tough intersection and I have witnessed many near misses,” said Julie McCann, who also noted that she is generally not in favor of more signs on the island. “There are a lot of new families and young children...the time has come.”
Only two people were against adding the signs; Glenn Howard noted that there have been no accidents at the intersection and thought that three signs are “excessive.” The other man said there have been no accidents or speeding issues and adding stop signs puts more liability on the cit —and taxpayers—should an accident occur after the signs are in place.
“I have three young daughters,” said one man who lives at the intersection. “My daughter was knocked off her bike right at the blind spot...you need to be proactive.” He added that, regarding speeding, “No one’s down there ticketing...there are no speed traps.”
The mayor said that the ordinance was the result of the police department’s work and was recommended by Chief William Whitton.
“It has the potential to be dangerous to inexperienced drivers..it is not a typical T intersection and visibility is a problem.”
Before voting on the ordinance, most of the council members noted that they trust the recommendation of the police department.
Also, Councilman Tenke said, “It’s our duty to maybe prevent a tragedy...I’d like to err on the side of caution.”
One resolution on the agenda did not pass, much to the chagrin of Mayor Spinello, who said that he had not received any phone calls in opposition to the proposal prior to the meeting. He had proposed the use of services of an engineering firm to conduct water sampling programs related to eliminating pathogen contamination in the vicinity of Crescent Beach. The topic sparked discussion among residents and the council, and resulted in a 3-3 vote.
Councilman Tony Gallo was the first to cast his vote. “I vote no; I have reservations about spending additional money on testing, I’d like to see legislation in place.”
“We’ve been doing testing for five years,” said Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti, who also voted against the resolution. “We’ve done plenty of testing, but we need a long term solution: sewer systems.”
“I have reservations as well,” said Tenke. “We don’t own the beach...we could probably put the money to better use on a feasibility study, and a sewer is the best solution.”
Councilwoman Pamela Panzenback and Councilman Michael Famiglietti were both in favor of the testing.
“We need data...this will only help us,” said Famiglietti.
“Sewers are not just mechanical, and it will be a long wait until we get the money for them,” said Mayor Spinello. “We are working on
getting legislation in place...I was hoping to move forward with the plan.”
The plan was to monitor the water for up to eight weeks to evaluate certain contaminants and make a clearer decision on whether to open the beach for the 2014 season, at a cost “not to exceed $85,000.” One set of testing would be done at the beach, and the other in the surrounding vicinity to try to find a pattern for the contamination. “The testing is not a cure or a remedy for the beach, but it will give us information,” said Spinello. He said the city has spent about $20,000 a year over the past several years on testing the area, and more continuous sampling is needed during the day.
A public hearing to increase fees for the Glen Cove Summer Day Camp programs was also held, with the resolution passing. The mayor said the program had a net loss of about $73,000 last year and this is the first time in three years that fees have increased. Each of the three camps fee increase is $55.