Written by Pat Grace Friday, 03 December 2010 00:00
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 The merger was withdrawn because the early retirement of 145 police officers, who will not be replaced, provided savings of $20-22 million.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.
The county Assessment Review Commission (ARC) is recommending a 15-month time for the entire assessment process to reduce the need for refund payments. Nassau is only one of two New York counties that had centralized its tax assessments, begun in 1938, to streamline the process.
Rich Bentley asked how the Greater Council can best expedite a better resolution since the change will now only increase taxpayer’s school taxes. Bosworth said there is an opportunity for public comments on any topic at the beginning of every legislative session. She encouraged letters to the county executive and legislators and a concerted effort by all county civic associations to keep the issue in the spotlight.
Greater Council general issues included Susan Auriemma’s update on FAA helicopter noise, reporting that Jerry Petrella, a Schumer aide, was unsure about any changes in local airport patterns. No FAA rule change as yet.
It was said no plan as yet has been submitted to the town regarding the Christ Church Parish House development into offices and a bank.
Plans were circulated for the Lord & Taylor expansion and the members were encouraged, especially those adjacent to the property in Strathmore Vanderbilt, to review the signage and parking lot lighting. The Department of Public Works study at the Shelter Rock Road entrance to the Lord & Taylor parking lot is estimated to be completed at the end of March 2011. To date there have been few objections to the proposed L&T expansion.
The Greater Council is monitoring an amendment for future Town of North Hempstead raises, although it was said no amendment as yet is on the calendar for reintroduction.
The Greater Council unanimously opposes increasing the fence height to 5 feet on a side yard and 6 feet in the back yard, a proposal spearheaded by Councilman Fred Pollack. Membership was encouraged to send letters to all TNH Board members.
The Plandome Manor Mayor voiced concern about coordination of information and/or confusing messages between North Shore Alert and TNH systems, two area emergency management plans. Additionally she mentioned the Stonytown/ Plandome Rd. triangle being replaced with a traffic light to improve safety and traffic flow from Port Washington to Manhasset; the triangle exceeds the NYS threshold as a dangerous intersection. Most residents, it was reported, support the change as necessary, and the Geater Council agreed. The project, Mayor Donno said, includes a $50K State grant through Dorm Authority bonds. The estimated completion date is Summer 2011.
The 16th Annual Bayview Christmas Spectacular is set for Saturday, Dec. 18 at Clearview Cinema.
Strathmore Village reported that surveyors were observed on Bath Club/ Belanchik vacant lot and it was said that the owner of Daffy’s purchased the property. Daffy’s has resumed renovation after the fire that closed the store.
The next meeting is at 8 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the TNH Law Library.