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Town: Improvement To Parks Worth Cost

It may only be January, but the upcoming November election already appears to be on the mind of Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto. At a recent board meeting, the supervisor defended the decision to spend millions of dollars to upgrade town parks and facilities.

“Every level of government is suffering,” remarked Venditto about the fiscal woes faced by municipalities. “Having said that, in some municipalities the infrastructure has not been addressed. This [the renovations to town facilities] is going to protect our infrastructure and quality of life. Just remember that when fall comes around and people are shooting arrows at us.”

The town has been dealing with budget shortfalls, which Venditto has blamed on the recent recession. Standard and Poor’s has lowered its long-term bond rating for the town. Because of the town’s finances, challengers will likely raise the issue of spending the money to upgrade town parks during the next campaign.

The issue arose when a resident thanked board members for their decision to upgrade town facilities. The resident said that town parks give the town’s youth a nice place to play which she said is especially important because of the increase in bullying.

Also, a public hearing was held to consider the 2013 Fire Protection Agreement between the town and its fire districts. No residents spoke at the public hearing. However, both Venditto and Councilman Joe Pinto expressed their gratitude for the service of firefighters.

“For a large part, they’re the reason the Town of Oyster Bay is such as a safe place to live,” said Venditto. The supervisor also recalled his mother’s house being on fire, and while he grabbed the dog and his mother grabbed her checkbook, both ran away from the fire while firefighters ran towards it, without knowing what perils they might be rushing to.

“I have a heartfelt feeling to our fireman,” said Pinto.  “After my son was born, there we three or four times that if they hadn’t responded, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Dr. Natalia Appenzeller, Clinical Director of the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, thanked the board for its assistance in conducting the 5th Annual Town of Oyster Bay Walk for Autism this past September. According to Appenzeller, this year’s event raised almost $7,000 for their efforts to meet the needs of children and adults with autism and related developmental disabilities.

A Syosset resident spoke to the board and appealed for a long-term solution to the issue of noise coming from the town’s Department of Public Works facility located at 150 Miller Place in Syosset. Stephen Meyers, who says he represents about 600 homeowners in the area who are disturbed by the sound of constant beeps which come from construction trucks within the facility. The beeps are a warning signal that the truck is going in reverse.

Meyers is calling on the town to put up a highway wall to muffle some of the sound or hire a signal person so that trucks may have the reverse warning beep turned off.

John Venditto said he would look into the issue although a town official cautioned him that the town’s leverage in getting vendors who use the facility to cooperate is diminished because of the economy.