Marvin Natiss, mayor of the Village of North Hills and president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association (NCVOA), joined a delegation of mayors from across Long Island at a Dec. 16 news conference to respond to a report released this week containing recommendations of the New York State Conference of Mayors’ (NYCOM) Task Force on Mandate and Property Tax Relief. The report, entitled “You Can’t Cap What You Can’t Control,” contains a significant set of mandate relief proposals, primarily in the workforce arena, that must be adopted by the State Legislature prior to considering any form of a property tax cap. It also identifies those rapidly rising costs–the growth of which is beyond local control–that must be excluded from a property tax cap.
“For decades, state mandates have been tying the hands of local officials, particularly regarding public sector salaries and benefits,” said Mayor Natiss. “These costs are the largest single component of village and budgets and the most difficult to control because they are collectively bargained and, in the case of public safety, subject to binding arbitration. This report highlights the necessary steps that must be taken to finally give us the ability to better manage our finances without having to resort to drastic cuts in services and jobs.”
It was said the Department of Public Works (DPW) was initially asked to propose locations in each town, but upon closer study, discovered many towns had fairly safe intersections. The engineering required to install red light cameras at each selected intersection is significant, almost similar to traffic lights themselves—an expensive undertaking.
The final installment list focused on intersections with significant accident activity. For that reason camera intersections are distributed throughout the county, but not in every town. While many view the cameras as a new ATM cash cow for Nassau County, DPW seems to have put ‘improved safety’ at the forefront of its decisions.
On Friday, Dec. 3, students were invited to attend the Manhasset Middle School Dance in honor of former Manhasset student and lacrosse star Neil Barber. The school dance was a smashing success; admittance required three cans of food for the homeless, in honor of Neil’s Wheels. The total amount collected was 821 cans of food for homeless dinners and ecumenical food pantries on Long Island.
Neil’s Wheels was established in 1999 to help students feel comfortable and safe when discussing any problem, including alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness. When Neil Barber was diagnosed with schizophrenia around 1995 he tried to run away from his disease, spending time at homeless shelters around the country, where he was treated well.
Initially, Coach Bob Rule, who had coached Neil, explained to his students how courageous Neil has been, and in return, the students wanted to do something meaningful for Neil. When informed of the students’ intentions, Neil immediately chose to help the homeless.
All agreed, at the school board meeting Dec. 16, that there will be difficult times following the Christmas break. The district had already begun paring its budget and now, with the tax cap proposed by Governor elect Cuomo, especially with Sheldon Silver purported to be on board, a brutal budget process awaits. Pension increases get the district above that number already, said Deputy Superintendent for Business and Finance Rosemary Johnson, adding, “We won’t choose our budget number, it will be set for us.”
According to the New York State School Board Association “a tax cap of 2 percent or the rate of inflation – whichever is less – would limit property tax increases in school districts to an average of $229 million per year over the next four years. At the same time, school districts could have a projected average annual increase of more than $1 billion in salaries, health insurance, and employee pension contributions. That would leave school districts with an average shortfall of $815 million each year just in meeting these basic personnel costs.” NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer said “… a hard tax cap would clearly threaten the quality of public education by forcing drastic cuts in classroom teachers and academic programs.”
The new slate of officers for 2010-2011 were announced at the December meeting of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce. President, Harvey Passes; C.J. Coleman, 1st VP; Katie Miller, 2nd VP; Peter Sanoulis, secretary; and Vincent Stempien, treasurer. New board members announced were Susna Soarez, Harun Hassouni and Norman Nemec.
The chamber website, it was reported, has already had 400 hits, as residents cast their votes for the overall holiday poster entry. Go to www.manhassetny.org and cast yours for one of the three entries.
Jim Dillon and Mark Ward, from the Manhasset Lakeville Fire Department, discussed their upcoming 100th anniversary in 2012.
On Sunday, Dec. 5, Munsey Park residents, in spite of very cold weather, lined the street in front of their homes with candle bags and at 5 p.m. sharp everyone lit 7,500 candles and the whole neighborhood was illuminated in candlelight. “Entire blocks were aglow,” reported Kristen Ryan, and “some enthusiastic families took the time to set out hot chocolate stands for chilly passers-by and host neighbors around their fire pits!” And Santa made a visit on a Manhasset-Lakeville fire engine.
It was a first for the village. The event was spearheaded by Tara Kirkwood who had run ‘Light the Night’ very successfully, for a number of years, in her old hometown. It is a wonderful kick-off for winter, she said, and a community celebration that allows everyone to participate.
The Manhasset Lakeville Water/ Fire District is holding an election, Tuesday, Dec. 14 at the firehouse located at 35 Bayview Avenue, Manhasset, from 3 to 9 p.m.
Of note, the Water District oversees the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire District. A combined Water/Fire District is relatively unique, there are only three such districts in Nassau County.
This year the district is holding a vote to elect one of three Water Commissioners. Donald O’Brien, Manhasset resident, is challenging incumbent Commissioner Rudy Barranco, of Great Neck, for the one open position.
The Manhasset Press requested the two candidates in the contested election submit a headshot, a short biography, and answer five questions giving the community the opportunity to learn about them.
The Manhasset Park District is holding elections, Tuesday, Dec. 14 at the firehouse located at 35 Bayview Avenue, Manhasset, from 3 to 9 p.m.
This year the Manhasset Park District has two commissioner positions that require votes. Mark S. Sauvinge is running unopposed for reelection for a three-year term. Ann Marie Curd, newly appointed commissioner, will be running against Steve George for the one-year unexpired term of the retired Commissioner Patricia J. Roberts.
Remember when voting that a vote would be cast for Mark Sauvigne for the three-year position and also another vote indicating your choice of either Mr. George or Ms. Curd for the one-year position.
The Manhasset Press requested the two candidates in the contested election to submit a headshot, a short biography, and to answer five questions giving the community the opportunity to learn about them. Each was given a limit of approximately 600 words.
Already there are too many vacant storefronts on Plandome Road, then factor in the going out of business sale at Fleur de’ Lis, and death throes of Ziering Interiors. Existing establishments are playing musical storefronts: The Pet Boutique moved from Plandome Road to Park Avenue and Manhasset Minuteman Press moved to different space across the street on Plandome Road. Manhasset Sporting Goods, Les Corbeilles, Merle Norman, and Van’s Garage Door Store are all gone, and there are three vacancies on the south side of Park Avenue.
When Manhasset Chamber of Commerce’s research scratched the surface it was able to determine a combination of contributing factors; high rents, lack of adequate parking, lack of sewers, and the overall economy—combined with the general unattractiveness of Plandome Road.
The Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations met Nov. 10 at the Town of North Hempstead Law Library. President Rich Bentley introduced Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth complimenting her office on its responsiveness, after which she swore in the current officers then addressed the membership. Of interest was the proposed merger of the 6th and 2nd Nassau County Police Precincts. The merger was withdrawn because the early retirement of 145 police officers, who will not be replaced, provided savings of $20-22 million. Tom DiPaoli was appointed the new Commanding Officer of the 6th Precinct.
Bosworth noted that the elimination of the tax certiorari County Guarantee passed by the county legislature, with the Republicans voting “yes” and the Democrats voting “no,” although it was partisan —could also be viewed somewhat bipartisan as former Executive Souzzi, a Democrat, also proposed it. At the root of the problem is a broken, complicated assessment system. Before, when the county made an incorrect assessment, the county was responsible to pay the refund to the taxpayer, now that obligation has been shifted predominately to the school districts. Eighty percent of the certiorari reductions, Bosworth said, are commercial properties, often in litigation for years, causing millions of dollars not only in refunds but crushing interest. The county has been borrowing funds to pay for the successful challenges causing major budget deficits. So now school districts/ municipalities are responsible to pay those refunds and they individually must budget for them, forcing them to create new reserves.
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