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State Budget Helps Hicksville

Senator Martins presented budget

over-view and impacts on Hicksville

Highlighting increased funding from CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program), New York State Senator Jack Martins offered a brief state budget review at the recent Nassau County Village Officials Association (NCVOA) dinner meeting. Martins, who fought for these increased CHIPS funds, reported a $75 million increase for municipalities (towns and villages), for road improvement and maintenance.

In a separate interview, the senator focused on specific benefits for the Town of Oyster Bay. CHIPS funds for the Town of Oyster Bay total $1,670,357, a 28.64 increase over last year.

The senator also said that over the next three years, families with at least one child, and a household income of $40,000 to $300,000 will receive a family tax relief check of $350. And he noted the extension of middle class tax cuts that were due to expire in 2014, cuts, which he said, will “ensure that middle class tax rates remain at their lowest level in 60 years.”

Martins said the state budget affords almost $1 billion in state aid to schools. For the Hicksville School District, Governor Cuomo proposed a 1.62 percent cut in state funding, $211,863 less than last year. Thanks to Martins’ efforts in fighting the cuts, the Hicksville School District will now receive a 4.24 percent increase, $766,911 more back to the education of students in Hicksville.

The senator, a former village mayor (in Mineola), and chair of the senate’s standing committee on local government, fought for an additional eight percent incase per capita in state aid.

As for pension relief, according to the senator, this budget allows school districts and local governments to pay a flat pension rate in order to see immediate relief that can be passed on to taxpayers.

For workers, the budget also sees a minimum wage increases from the current $7.25 to $8 per hour at the end of the year; raised to $8.25 per hour by the end of 2014; and an increase to $9 an hour by the end of 2015.

The budget also includes almost $600 million in tax relief for New York businesses over the next three years, including a reduction in personal income taxes on business income for “hundreds of thousands of small businesses that pay personal income tax.” Additionally, the budgets creates tax credits to any business that hires a veteran returning home from military service. This credit will equal 10 percent of wages paid, increasing to 15 percent of wages if the veteran is disabled.

And, according to Martins, the budget phases out the 18-a-utility surcharge, “saving residents and businesses money on their electric bills.”

Turning to senior citizens, the senator stated: “The budget also keeps a strong commitment to senior citizens and includes full funding for the EPIC Program and $912 million for the Enhanced STAR property tax exemption for seniors.”

Martins stated that this new state budget keeps spending growth below two percent, “marking the third straight year that spending growth has been below two percent, consistent with the local tax cap that applies to school districts and local governments.” And the senator said that this 2013-14 budget “marks the third straight year the sate budget is on time and the first time that has happened in nearly 30 years.”

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Social and Ballroom Dancing

September 5

ECC Open House

September 6

BOE Meeting

September 10



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com