In an effort to bring local government closer to residents, particularly those who have limited ability to travel, the Town of Hempstead, joined by local dignitaries, unveiled a brand new Mobile Town Hall, that will visit numerous senior centers throughout the municipality. The 36-foot motor home, readily equipped with cell phones, laptop computers and fax capabilities, will be linked to Town Hall in Hempstead, allowing easy access to information not readily available in the mobile unit.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Rich Guardino, with the help of State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., Assemblywoman Kathleen Murray, Councilwoman Angie Cullin, Town of Hempstead Commissioner of Senior Enrichment Affairs Johanna Scarlata, Councilman Gary Hudes, Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Jr., Mike Carroll, a representative from Congressman Peter King's office and Vice President of the Bellmore Senior Center Andy Ruggiero, introduced the service to residents at the Bellmore Senior Center earlier this week and will be visiting the Levittown Senior Center on Oct. 18.
Noting the Mobile Town Hall will be especially helpful to senior citizens, Guardino said the unit would enable residents to receive Town of Hempstead news directly.
"The Town of Hempstead covers 143 square miles and caters to 756,000 residents. Many seniors have concerns they'd like to discuss and this gives those with limited traveling ability a chance to do that," he said.
"For example, some may want to know where and when the next S.T.O.P. Program is taking place. They can easily gain access to this information through Mobile Town Hall. It's in service now and we plan to keep it a part of town government for as long as we can."
Seniors who attended the unveiling are in favor of the unit, saying, "it's a great idea. Lots of people our age can't get out, we don't have chauffeurs. This is great to have coming around so people like us can ask questions."
The mobile unit is the result of various months of brainstorming to find yet another way to better serve residents. Fuschillo secured a $67,000 grant, which paid for the unit, and said he's "pleased to have this opportunity to assist the Town of Hempstead in making government more accessible."
Councilman Hudes agreed that the unit will certainly be beneficial to nearby residents. "It's going to give residents an opportunity to deal with Town of Hempstead personnel, have any questions they have answered, and bring their concerns right to Town Hall without having to travel to Hempstead," he said. "Some people have two jobs, some people just can't make the trip," he added, noting that having the unit close to home will certainly benefit many residents.
"Yes we are available by telephone; yes we are available by email, but now we are virtually in their back yard," Hudes added. "This is just another example of the Town of Hempstead using money wisely."
The unit will also serve as a mobile tax collection office during various tax periods, providing an added level of service to taxpayers, Clavin said. The new unit complements an existing Town of Hempstead project that established satellite offices in various towns prior to tax payment deadlines. That project received such overwhelming success, Guardino and Clavin had to extend the office hours.
Groups that feel the Mobile Town Hall could serve their members with governmental issues should call the town to arrange for the mobile facility to pay a visit, Guardino said. "Reaching out to serve more residents is a key goal of my administration and this vehicle will help me do just that."
Besides visiting the Bellmore Senior Center this past Tuesday, Mobile Town Hall also made its way to the Oceanside Senior Center Thursday, Oct. 11. Throughout the rest of October, it will make the following stops:
Uniondale-Hempstead Senior Center, Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Levittown Senior Center, Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Green Acres Senior Center, Oct. 25, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Elmont Senior Center, Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.