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Opinion

Now that the two-year exploratory process and referendum into a Mineola Police Department has concluded, there remains a lot of work to be done. Following the rejection of the proposed department, I am hopeful our village board and residents are united on one glaring point - we remain over-taxed for the services provided.

According to the 2000 census and task force information, the combined villages of Westbury, New Cassel, Williston Park and East Williston have a population of 41,370 living in 13,871 households. The combined 3rd Precinct patrol tax of these four communities is $6,773,899.

Mineola has a population of 19,233 living in 7,473 households. The 3rd Precinct patrol tax for Mineola is $6,730,886.

Accepting the fact there are, no doubt, variables due to commercial tax bases in each community, I still cannot accept these numbers as equitable. If I am correct, then Mineola has done nothing but vote down one possible alternative toward fixing the problem. The result eliminates an alternative but the problem remains.

Throughout the process, a lot of good people gave their time to find out the information we needed to make an informed vote. Meetings were held, the merits debated and the democratic process proceeded. During most of the debate, I saw a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions, but as the process was reaching conclusion, it became partisan and, frankly, quite ugly. Let's put this behind us and move forward toward the next alternative.

I ask the mayor and village board to reunite in a bipartisan effort to solve the remaining problem of the apparent, inequitable patrol tax being borne by our village. The December 5 vote should not be looked at as the end of the process, just the beginning. Now, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work.

Artie Barnett


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