There is a house two doors down from mine on Division Avenue in Massapequa that has seemingly been abandoned for at least two years. The house has been boarded up but is covered with mold and mildew due to wind driven rainstorms and because for the most part, has been left unattended for years.
It is important that I share with you the fiscal challenges facing Nassau County. Nassau faces a projected $310 million deficit for 2012 resulting from unaffordable labor contracts, coupled with a broken assessment system and a stagnant economy that have collectively created a fiscal storm. Today [column submitted Sept. 14], I will submit a budget for 2012 that reduces year-over-year spending by $63 million. This is the first time Nassau has done so in over a generation. My budget changes the culture of taxing and spending, which has brought us to where we are today. First, let me say that my budget for the second year in a row does not include a property tax hike as our problems are not tax-driven. Nassau’s problems are spending-driven. As such, my budget significantly reduces the workforce, cuts tens of millions of dollars in spending and reforms unaffordable labor contracts.
Calling it a “step in the wrong direction for New York State,” State Senator Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) has criticized The Port Authority’s recent decision to raise tolls.
Fuschillo, who is chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, said that under the plan approved by the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners, drivers would face toll increases each year through 2015. He also called on both Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to reject the toll increases and instead “order an independent forensic audit of the Port Authority’s finances, and re-evaluate the Port Authority’s current leadership.”
It astonishes me to how mean-spirited we are becoming. President Obama has been criticized for taking a week’s vacation in August to spend time with his family. I have heard media pundits even criticize him for spending his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard even though past presidents, most recently Bill Clinton, have vacationed there. Even more disturbing were some Massachusetts residents holding signs indicating that he is not welcomed to vacation in their state. The level of griping about Congress, the president, the stock market and the economy is depressing, but our problems persist.
(Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos release the following statement.)
“Again we are reminded by State Comptroller DiNapoli about the up to 26 percent increases in 2012 Pension contributions and 19 percent further increase for 2013 demanded by New York State from Nassau County taxpayers to meet its commitments to retirees. This increase will cost the Nassau County taxpayers an additional $32.1 million in 2012 and then an additional $29 million in 2013.
Massapequa Park’s Brady Park Senior Center is looking for new members. The center offers many wonderful and exciting events for both men and women. For those of you who love to read, the Book Club meets once a month; enjoy a movie on the beautiful flat screen television or challenge your skills to a friendly game of pool. Some of the many other organized events include trips to see plays, exercise classes, bingo, mah-jongg, other exciting card games and informational seminars covering various senior issues.
With the new school year fast approaching, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto issued his annual reminder to drivers to be extra cautious.
“The slogan ‘School is Open – Drive Safely’ has been around for a while, but it bears repeating as we embark upon the start of a new school year,” Venditto stated. “Despite parental lectures on safety, children sometimes demonstrate youthful misjudgment such as walking or riding against traffic lights and signs or in undesignated areas, zig-zagging on bicycles or skateboards, and walking or riding out from between parked cars. That means we, as drivers, must be constantly on the alert. As someone who spends a lot of time on the road, I am especially cautious on neighborhood streets. I am inclined to decrease my speed below the posted limit and give extra wide clearance to children walking, riding or playing in the street.
As most of you know, there are no meetings in July and we resume our regular schedule in August.
During the month of June we celebrated four Grand Openings; Swirls & Twirls Frozen Yogurt, 5270 Sunrise Hwy., OM Tara Yoga Studio, 518 A Broadway, Salumi Tapas and Wine Bar, 5600 Merrick Rd., and Pequa Physical and Aquatic Therapy, 913 North Broadway.
I was privileged to be at a pre-release screening of the extraordinary feature-length documentary film called Rebirth at Hofstra University in June. In just a few days, you can see it too.
Rebirth’s theatrical premiere will be held on Aug. 31, at the IFC Center in New York City and on SHOWTIME on the 10th anniversary commemoration of September 11, 2001.
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