(Editor’s Note: Last week the Record Pilot reported on a review of the City of Glen Cove 2012 proposed budget done by the NYS Comptroller’s Office. Because the review was first made available close to press time, the mayor did not have an opportunity to share his comments on the review and his 2012 budget. This op-ed provides that opportunity.)
My first day as mayor, in 2006, I sent a letter to the NYS Comptroller requesting a comprehensive audit of our City’s finances. This audit was important since it:
1) Identified and documented the scope of the financial mess I had inherited.
2) Provided recommendations to correct structural issues that became part of the City’s budgeting methods and spending practices over the course of several years.
3) The October 2006 NYS Comptroller’s audit report also created a history that no one can rewrite. The facts are the facts.
Oh really? Well today, and before, when we owned a sewer system, we paid no specific sewer tax. So the fee to be levied by Nassau County will be nothing?
Please raise your hand if you think that the ferry is being built by a developer at no cost to Glen Cove taxpayers. If you raised your hand, you’d be wrong. It’s being built by the City of Glen Cove. When the project was announced in September, 2007, Cara Longworth, then the executive director of the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency, said (see the Media section on the Ferry link on the City’s website) the project was expected to cost $16.9 million, that the federal government will finance most of it with some matching grants from the city “but we hope to cover any outlays with rent” from a restaurant planned for the second floor of the terminal. Ms. Longworth’s prediction about restaurant rent covering the city’s outlays is laughable on its face. You and I both know that the taxpayers are going to get whacked. How much will our taxes have to absorb? We don’t know because Mayor Suozzi hasn’t told us. Oh, did I mention the $85,000 per year in maintenance costs to be borne by the City (pg 4-27 of the Final Design Report on the same Ferry link)? Who are we building this ferry for?
I really first met Ralph about 15 years ago when I was restoring the historic Coles House on Glen Street. I of course knew of the Suozzi family, Ralph’s father, Jimmy and his cousin Tom and Tom’s father Joe and later the rest of his family. Unlike the Suozzi family, I was a newcomer to Glen Cove. I have been here for only 40 years. It was easy for me to like Ralph, he was unassuming, warm, almost on the quiet side, and his humor was infectious. There was a sincerity about his nature and a clarity about his thinking that appealed to me.
After the voters turned down the referendum being promoted by County Executive Mangano, he was asked this question by the Record Pilot: If you were already representing the 18th Legislative District and the referendum passed, it would then go before you for approval in the legislature. Would you vote YES or NO to borrow $400 million while Nassau suffers from a major deficit – raising property taxes at the same time?
Over the last several weeks, fliers and statements are being issued by the mayor’s political opposition. Their positions are made at meetings, in mailings they send to each residents, and the fliers they distribute at the local supermarkets. In many of their publications, they are complaining about the amount of time many of the volunteers have served on the City of Glen Cove’s not-for-profit boards. A specific complaint is that many of the members of the GC Industrial Development Agency and the GC Planning Board have been serving our community for many years. It has been professed on the handbills that there is an absolute term-limit that any one person may be allowed to volunteer on a committee.
I committed to two 1-year terms. As my last term comes to a close, I’d like to take the time to extend a heartfelt thank you to all that contributed to the success of these last two years.
During this time we’ve built a stronger relationship with our community, School District, city/local agencies, Kiwanis International, NY State District, our Long Island North Division, Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center Foundation, and the families of our city.
The bulk of last week’s questions and comments at the hearing seemed not really for the Planning Board, who are apparently only reviewing how the developers will offset or eliminate negative environmental impacts.
But a lack of transparency on the county’s part clearly exists. The administration complains that Nassau has the second highest taxes in the nation, yet if the county got rid of all 6,000 of its Civil Service Employees Association workers, Nassau would still hold that regrettable status. In fact, in a $10,000 property tax bill, only $300 is for the services provided by CSEA members.
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