Written by Michael Scro Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
East Williston Mayor David Tanner announced that engineering plans to either demolish or refurbish the vacated property on Sumter Street are complete, and the board will put a bid together for contractors.
The mayor revealed the plan at its meeting Jan. 14.
Trustee Robert Vella expects a decision to be made by the end of March. In addition, a “ball park” estimate of $30,000 was given for the work.
“We are confident that we’ll get back everything we’ve put into this…any cost laid out will act as a lean on the property,” Tanner said. According to Trustee Bonnie Parente, a large portion of that $30,000 is tax liens that are already attached to the property.
The property, owned by John Muzio, has become a problem for residents in the village due to an infestation of raccoons. The village had voted to set traps for the raccoons at their meeting last month.
“We’re in a position where we need to evaluate both options, and decide which is more feasible for the village,” Tanner said.
East Williston hired an engineering firm to draw plans for the property, in order to get “biddable numbers” according to Tanner. Bids will advertise beginning Jan. 30, and will be received two weeks later.
The Nassau County Supreme Court has decreed the village must have an evaluation to decide which course of action best suits the community and its residents, according to Village Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff.
“The court has granted us the power to enter the premises and assess the stability and safety of the structure….the village is empowered to take such steps as it deems required to render the structure stable (including maintenance and repairs) or directing this it must be demolished or vacated,” Blinkoff said, reading a portion of the decision.
Residents attending the meeting, who have been following the progress of this process, questioned the delay in decision-making. One resident asked Tanner about repercussions if the village were to demolish the property tomorrow.
“If we did that, we would have not complied by the court’s decision, and this would expose the village to liability…and the owner of the property could ask us to rebuild it,” Tanner explained.
Tanner said the village is still actively looking for alternative water carriers due to an on-going legal battle with their current carrier, Williston Park, on water rates.
“We’ve attempted to negotiate with them on several occasions, and they refuse to compromise,” Tanner said. “A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think about it in some way.”
The village filed a second lawsuit against Williston Park last month in Nassau County Supreme Court. The village is fighting the decision to raise East Williston’s water rate to $4.33 per 1,000 gallons, a 13 percent increase, from $3.83 per 1,000 gallons.
Tanner announced that East Williston has decided to rebid its sanitation contract. It has the option to either stay with DeJana Industries or go with another company. Bids went out last week. Tanner also said that an emphasis would be placed on recycling in the village.
“Over the years, it’s been a sticking point with whomever we have as a carter, to put in extra effort with recycling bins,” he said. “We will come up with more explicit ways, maybe education programs, to encourage people to recycle more.”
Trustee Vella said he is currently examining emergency action plans from several local villages, in an effort to formulate a plan for East Williston in the event of an emergency such as Hurricane Sandy. “Should there be another disaster of those proportions, we’ll have a more definitive course of action,” Vella said.
The process is expected to take a few months to formulate, according to village officials.
The village clerk’s office announced that the 2013-14 tax roll will be available as of Feb. The village will send out cards in the mail.
“They will be available for [resident] perusal to see where their assessments are coming in,” Tanner added. They will also be at the library.
Trustee Chris Siciliano announced that a generator is now installed at Village Hall, and nearly 95 percent of the lighting in East Williston is fixed due to damages from Hurricane Sandy.
“Within the next few weeks, everything should be done with that,” Siciliano said, who also announced that all stumps collected have been grounded, leaving sidewalks that have to be replaced left to complete.