The Williston Park Village Board, at its last meeting, voted to postpone the Rental Registration hearing to March 16 this is in conjunction with the next regular Williston Park Village Board meeting. Mayor Ludwig Odierna said that he felt the board, at that time, would rescind the Rental Registration law since the members of the board were not happy with the law as it is now drafted.
Further, the mayor also announced that there will be a budget workshop held; at 8 p.m. on March 31 for the public. All residents are encouraged to attend.
He also announced that the Broad Street light was under way and he said everyone was happy. He said he has to thank New York State Senator Craig Johnson for his efforts regarding this light.
Mayor Odierna then introduced Ben Truncale, from John Spellman's office, who handles the village tax certioraris. Mayor Odierna said, "Ben has helped this village enormously in saving money." He then turned the meeting over to Truncale who said, "Every so often, mayor, you ask me to appear before the board to basically give an overview of where we are and where we have been and how the commercial tax certioraris are going and that is the purpose of my being here tonight.
"My firm has had the pleasure of representing this village since 2006-2007 tax year and so basically there have been three tax years that we have represented the village on commercial tax certiorari matters. With regard to the 2006-'07 year we have calculated the refund savings to the village at approximately $77,000 with a savings on assessed valuation in the amount of about $76,000.
"With regard to the 2007-'08 year there weren't as many cases in play that year. But, we did calculate the refund savings to the village at approximately $25,000 with corresponding assessed valuations savings of approximately $24,000.
"Finally, turning to the 2008-'09 year, we have calculated the refund savings at approximately $47,000 with the corresponding assessed valuation savings of $30,000.
"So, what does that mean? If we look at the three year totals, the total amount of refund savings to the village is approximately $150,000 and in regards to the assessed valuation savings for the three years it comes out to approximately $130,000."
Truncale said, "Basically, a commercial establishment in the village will say to the village that they believe the value of the property to be a certain amount of dollars and then we, at our firm, look at the establishment and we prepare an analysis and then we have negotiations and determine we believe the fair market value of the property to be. If we are unable to favorably resolve that certiorari for the village we would have to go to litigation.
"Fortunately, we have not had an instance where we have had to go to litigation. Our assessed valuation settlements have always been higher than that of the county and higher than the amount of what our village appraisers value the property.
"So, basically, the process is this. We take a case. We will look at what their demand is. We will prepare our own analysis, in house and we will also discuss the matter with the village appraiser to see what they believe the value of the property to be. What we do is then begin a negotiation process with the commercial taxpayer and our goal is always to settle higher than that of the appraiser, but we need to know where we would be if push comes to shove and we had to go to court. Because there is no point in litigating a case if we know the property cannot be substantiated at a certain value.
"For example, let's say, in our eyes, certain property is valued at
$100,000 and the appraiser comes in and says, the best we can do is to substantiate a price of $90,000. Now, the taxpayer is saying it's worth $80,000. Now, I have a range that I have to look at when I go to settle that case somewhere between $80,000 and $100,000. My goal is always to be over what my analysis is, but I have to have an eye on what the appraiser can substantiate in case we go to court.
"So what does the savings translate into tax dollars? For every dollar that we are able to negotiate higher than what the demand is for the reduction of the demand is for assessed valuation this equates to more tax dollars saved for the village and not lost as a result of a reduction.
"So, not only do we have to take into account the $150,000 refund of hard cash savings that we have been able to negotiate for the village, over the three year period, like I said, we have settled with regard to assessed valuations and had a savings of assessed valuations dollars of $130,000 and that equates to an additional, somewhere in the range between $25,000 and $35,000 a year and this will carry us out because each certiorari settlement requires a three-year moratorium on the part of the commercial taxpayer. This means they cannot challenge their taxes for three years after we have done the settlement and that brings us out to the 2012-'13 tax year.
"So, roughly we are going to average out a savings to the village of approximately $30,000 a year for six years."
When the floor was opened to questions Ray Cross wanted to know the fees of the Spellman law firm during the three-year period.
Truncale said, "Over the three-year period, last I checked, somewhere in the range of about $36,000."
Cross added, "So what are you basing your $15,000 savings on?"
Truncale answered, "Okay, so if you net out my fees it's somewhere in the $120,000 amount."
Paul Ehrbar asked if there had been a tax cert with the Williston House during this period of time.
Truncale said he didn't see that on his list during the last few years, but that he would check it out.
Williston Park attorney Richard Reers said that he recalled that that tax cert was implemented on the tax roles about a year and a half ago and he said he didn't know if there was any pending litigation.
Truncale said, "Another way to look at this is that the petitioner's attorneys like to sit on their cases and not move them so that they garner about a 10-year period of time and then the exposure to the village is much greater because the refund exposure and since there is a moratorium in place for three years, they can't challenge them. So, the most that is in play is a one to two-year period going forward."
Deputy Mayor Smith announced that the application period for pool personnel was now closed and the interviews will be held sometime in March.
She said, in regards to the pool, they are looking into purchasing a new slide for the pool.
Deputy Mayor Smith announced that there is a new commanding officer of the Auxiliary Police Department, Joseph Essa. He has been with Auxiliary Police for 13 years.
The Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Sunday, April 5 at 1 p.m. in Kelleher Park. She said that children of very young it is to about 10 years old, are eligible to hunt for the eggs. She said, "Just bring your Easter Basket and we'll do the rest."
The Code Enforcers issued 150 tickets for the month of January and that was the end of the report.
Trustee Dunn reported on the January court report. He said that Judge Alan Reardon heard 225 cases collecting fines of $14,680 together with the mandatory New York State surcharge of $425. Judge Kevin Reilly heard three cases collecting fines of $450 with a New York State surcharge of $225.
He also had two applications for the Williston Park Fire Department. The members are David Cohen and Matthew Dower. The board then approved the applications.
Trustee Swendsen-Dowd reported that the Senior Citizens Valentine Social held at the American Legion was a huge success. She said King Kullen supplied the cake and cookies,
She reported that the DPW contract was going to be reviewed and she said that both she and trustee Dunn are working on that and they will be meeting with the union representative. She added, "We'll keep you posted."
Trustee Darmstadt said that he was asked by Williston Park Library Director Donna McKenna to ask residents to sign a petition at the library protesting Governor David Paterson's cut in aid in the amount of 14 percent.
He also said that there will be volunteer students from C.W. Post at the library helping seniors with their taxes. Call the library for times.
He also announced that the Neighborhood Watch Meeting was cancelled in January, due to bad weather. Then the program was temporarily suspended by Nassau County due to budget cuts. However, he said that the program has been reinstated and we are asking all residents to contact Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello and County Executive Thomas Suozzi and hopefully they will make the program permanent.
He added,"POP Officer John Dockswell has been a huge assest to this village and if we lose him now it will be terrible.
"Further, I want to congratulate John's Variety Store on his new location, which is right across from his old location and he has always been very supportive of this village.
He also announced that a new market, B & S Village Market has opened at the location of the old Wheatley Farms on Willis Avenue.
Announced that the locations on Hillside Avenue, closed for prostitution has remain closed and is out-of-business.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Keith Brunell reported that his department completed 14 tree complaints and five signs. He said the Highway Department is busy filling in potholes. He also reported they addressed nine complaints of street lights and did nine in-house repairs of trucks.
He also reported that they removed six stumps and had a water main break on Sherman Avenue. Further, he said they are working with LIPA on tree complaints.
` He also reported that the water main was moved in preparation of the traffic light on Broad Street. He reported that the foundation was poured for the light.
Finally, he said they had three emergency calls; one being that a car went through the pool gates, a tree came down on Sherman and Willis Avenue and a fire siren poll fell on Marcellus and Gilmore went into the wires. We did all this in-house, he said.
Mayor Odierna said he had to thank the DPW crew and LIPA for the minimum tree damage sustained during a windstorm. He said it was due to the excellent preparation of the trees in expectation of such storms.
Residential building permits-2; no commercial building permits; residential plumbing permits -3; commercial plumbing permits-1; electrical licenses-15; carters and dumpsters licensing-4; landscaping-11; food and drink-5; oil tank permits-1; sign permit-1; Board of Appeals Application-1; street opening-1 totaling $12,345. Building permits-3; plumbing permits-8; notice of violation-10. He explained that those violations were just issued by him.
Collins said, "We still have a big problem of those who fail to comply with the garbage laws during holidays. Keith and I spend a lot of time driving around and taking garbage in and leaving violations on doors. Please, tell your neighbors we have to do something. All I ever hear is the quality of life in the village, it's terrible, but nobody works with each other."
Collins also reported he issued two building permits; one at Horton Highway and on Aster.
He also reported a fire on Hillside Avenue with a great response by the fire department.
Mayor Odierna said that he appealed, to Governor Paterson for some of the Federal Stimulus Funds money to repair the roads in Williston Park. He said the amount asked was for $1 million.
He added, "We are going to start in April with the Ackerman money to repair roads north of Hillside. Want to let you know we have written to everyone for funds. We are not letting it die."
Paul Ehrbar said, "In reading your Mayor's Corner you stated that streets have been neglected for years."
The mayor said, "The whole village hasn't been done. And those living south of Hillside have not been done ever."
Ehrbar said that the village has spent so much money doing engineers reports and yet no work has been done on the road.
The mayor said that all the paperwork takes a tremendous amount of time. He said, "What you have to do is go back to the state department who is holding and each time we do that they say we have to do more. So we have to go through all the steps. The engineering report and the streets we had outlined were not the worst streets, so it's unfair to say nothing has been done. Work has been done."
Ehrbar said, "It's been three years since you received the grant money."
Odierna said, "When you use government monies it takes time when you are dealing with the DOT.
Secretary Colleen Carboine explained that every time she sends paperwork, in, the state sends it back. She said they said you can't do 20 streets for $1 million, so the engineers had to come back in and find the worst streets and submit those to the state. Then she said there is a new state law that demands that the village hires an arborist and have that person go to every tree on that street that is to be repaired to see if they could be removed or trimmed and that cost the village another $5,000.
She said, "We do have an arborist, but he's not certified by the state so the engineers had to get an arborist that was certified."
The very long meeting finally came to an end. The next meeting will be held on March 16 at 8 p.m. and that will be, as mentioned before, the same night the Rental Registration hearing will be resumed.