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Civics Host Comptroller Candidates

Forum serves as preview for debate on October 10

The Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations hosted the candidates for county comptroller—incumbent George Maragos and challenger Howard Weitzman—in a town forum at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library last week.

 

Each candidate was granted five minutes of speaking time, followed by a question and answer session with residents in attendance. 

 

Broadly speaking, Maragos said the county has “held the line” on tax increases and not burdened Nassau County’s homeowners, while Weitzman said the county can not sustain the debt t has accrued during the current administration’s time in office.

 

In order to make it a truly democratic forum, the Coalition wanted the candidates to flip a coin to decide who would speak first—but with Maragos running 20 minutes late, the Coalition decided to let Weitzman speak first.

 

Weitzman said that residents can expect to hear two different stories about Nassau County this election year. He said the Democrats will say the county’s finances are horrible and changes need to be made immediately; while Republicans will say the county is on the right track and needs to keep moving forward in the current direction. 

 

“Don’t listen to the politicians. They lie,” he said. “I’ve never considered myself a politician. The truth can be discerned by looking at what people on the outside are saying. During my time in office, the county had 13 bond upgrades and an honestly balanced budget for eight years. I left when the country was in the depths of a recession and the county still had a stable output, according to Standard & Poor’s.”

 

He said that Maragos’ tenure has been marked by three bond downgrades, a negative outlook rating from Standards & Poor’s and the highest level of debt in county history. 

 

Weitzman said taxpayers can expect to feel the consequences of the current administrations’ actions when property taxes are raised in October.

 

“[Maragos] betrayed the purpose of the office. It is supposed to be a taxpayer watchdog, independent from the current administration,” said Weitzman. “Instead, he’s shown himself to be a spokesperson for the administration.”

 

For his part, Maragos said the county has seen significant improvements from what the administration inherited in 2009. He said he is especially proud that the 2014 budget contains no property tax increases.

 

“No other county in the state has been able to hold the line on spending, reduce costs and make government more efficient by rooting out waste and fraud than this administration,” he said. “I come from the private sector with 35 years of experience. I brought business principles to this office. Simply, you cannot spend more than the revenues you bring in. The people have to live within their means and we insist the government do the same.”

 

Maragos said raising property taxes is the worst thing an elected official can do because it pushes residents to leave the county and keeps businesses from setting up shop.

 

“The cost of living is too high in Nassau,” he said. “We have to be aggressive in keeping our young people here.”

 

The forum turned contentious when Weitzman requested a chance to issue a rebuttal against some of the comptroller’s statements. This request was denied by the Coalition, which said both candidates would have an opportunity to respond to claims at a debate to be hosted by the League of Women Voters of Nassau County at Molloy College on Oct. 10.

 

Residents in attendance pleaded for transparency above all. 

 

“There is no way for the people to know where the money is going and what work is getting done. There is no transparency,” said Trisha Kearney from the Bay Park Civic Association. “There needs to be a way for people to know. There needs to be a paper trail online.”

News

Dressed in their Sunday best, churchgoers came to the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown to take part in the biggest celebrated Sunday in the Christian year.

 

A special holiday calls for a special service, which was led by Reverend Terri Yvette Cissé-Ofori. There were flowers decorating the inside of the church as well as musicians playing their instruments throughout the service.

 

“Today is Resurrection Sunday,” said Cissé-Ofori. “Normally people call it Easter, but we celebrate the rising of Christ. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and he’s still alive.”

 

While Island Trees School District officials plan to reexamine a proposal to develop senior housing on 11.3 acres of property currently used to house the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow schools, district officials have so far been unwilling to identify the developer. 

 

The plan to sell the Farmedge property was first conceived in 2010, when BOCES dropped its lease on the Gallow school. The school district issued a request for proposals. After reviewing its options, the Island Trees Board of Education selected and presented to the

public a proposal to develop 160 to 247 housing units for seniors over 55.After public outcry against the project, the district said it would go back to the drawing board, re-opening discussions and engaging a wide range of stakeholders. However, despite requests from the public and the press, the district has steadfastly declined to identify the developer of the initial proposal—which may yet end up being the winning bid. 


Sports

The Farmingdale State College baseball team earned an 8-2 victory over the College of Staten Island in a recent non-conference home game.

 

In the bottom of the second, left fielder Richard Sullivan of Farmingdale broke broke the scoreless tie on a two out RBI single. Senior third baseman Sal Sanquini of Levittown would go on to hit an RBI single through the left side to increase the lead 2-0. Sanquini was 2-for-4 at the plate with a game-high of 3 RBIs.

The Island Trees varsity softball team had an amazing 8-3 win in extra innings on April 2nd against a previously unbeaten Clarke team to improve their league record to 2-0.  Ashley Melendez opened up the scoring with a solo homerun to lead off the 4th inning. 

 

Although the team relinquished the lead in the 4th and 5thinnings, they did not let the negative turn of events get the best of them.   Down one with three outs left, Sam Scharff led off the top of the 7th with an amazing bunt for a hit.  Christie Ciaramitaro and Kelly Cembrale both reached on errors to keep the inning and team’s hopes alive.  Morgan Petry roped an RBI single up the middle to score courtesy runner, Kim Ahrens with the tying run.   


Calendar

Bellmore FD Fundraiser - April 25

Earth Day Cleanup - April 26

Bowling For Scholars - April 26


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