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Smooth Budget Ride

Road improvement and storm preparation dominated the discussion of the Village of Mineola’s preliminary 2014-15 budget released last week. The proposed budget totals $19.33 million, a 1.38 percent increase from last year.

The tentative budget also represents a .34 percent tax increase from last year, when Mineola’s tax bump was .74 percent.

 

The village has budgeted almost $1 million for road and curb upgrades, Mayor Scott Strauss estimated. The road maintenance line in the budget received an $80,000 to increase to $580,000.

 

Mineola’s contract for curb improvements went from $200,000 to $225,000. Money budgeted for street and highway improvements totaled $218,943. 

 

“That [$1 million] is budgeted,” Strauss said. “We don’t have to take loans out. We don’t have to owe anyone anything on it. It will repave roads and fix curbs in the village.”

 

Road work in the village more than doubled over the last few years. In previous budgets, road maintenance totaled about $300,000.

 

“In the last few years, we have been repairing all the curbs and driveway aprons,” Village Public Works Superintendent Tom Rini said. “We’re reconstructing roads so it become. In discussing what’s planned in the budget, it gives you that comfortability level to know you can add an extra road or make sure you finish.”

 

The current budget allots $45,000 for road salt. Mineola budgeted $40,000 last year and exceeded that by more than $10,000, but Strauss said contingency funds were used to offset going over budget last year.

 

“We did go over budget in [snow removal] this year,” Rini said. “I still have some bills coming in.”

 

Mineola typically uses 600-750 tons of salt in a year, but ran into supply issues after a series of snowstorms in December and the beginning of 2014. Rini estimated that the village went 120 percent past its normal usage.

 

“Our salt line did increase,” Rini said. “Due to that, we did exceed what we normally ordered and we exceeded by such a point that you start to go into a higher pay category.”

 

The cost of health benefits increased from $2.15 million to $2.19 million. 

 

“There are some increases that are out of our control,” Strauss said. “We had New York State retirement contributions increase $94,000. Liability insurance increased $25,000. But after all of that, we’re still at .34 percent.”

News

In a typical Long Island community packed with houses and backyards, there are a couple of acres of open land of community gardens where people are growing basil and dahlias and roses and cabbages—people like Terry Dunckey of Westbury and Peg Woerner of Great Neck, tending their small plots and helping to promote sustainable and organic practices.

East Meadow Farm, off Merrick Avenue, is owned by Nassau County and operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Nassau County. Previously it was a family-owned farm that was purchased by the county through the Environment Bond Act Program, a $150 million program that called for, among several mandates, the preservation of 400 acres of open space. In 2009, CCE of Nassau was awarded the lease to the land and in January 2012 took possession of the property. East Meadow Farm is a place where we can get the best advice on how to make our gardens grow without harming the earth. Part of the CCE’s original proposal was the establishment of a farmer’s market and, now, the market is open two days a week, a place to purchase organic vegetables and flowers during the growing season.

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say they’re still investigating locations in the Mineola School District, while leaning towards installing cameras near the North Side or Willets Road schools in the East Williston School District. Cameras could begin operation in September.


Sports

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

The BU15 Mineola Revolution were crowned champions of the Roar at the Shore Tournament 2014 in West Islip on Aug. 10. After dropping the opener 2-0 against North Valley Stream, Mineola bounced back to beat Freeport Premiere 2-1.

The Revolution’s offense exploded in the third game as they beat West Islip 7-0. Mineola’s final game pitted them against Quickstrike FC, which entered the contest without a loss and within a point of winning the tournament.


Calendar

Zoning Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Mineola Village Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 3

School Board Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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