Statement by NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer
Gov. Cuomo’s video message Nov. 7 called attention to the property tax cap’s effectiveness in thus far holding down municipal property tax levies.
The property tax cap may well serve its intended purpose, but it’s going to come at a cost to educational programs and services in school districts, unless the state loosens its reins on school districts by providing significant mandate relief.
On Sunday, October 30th, the Nassau County Legislature approved my budget for 2012 that includes the tough medicine needed to help our County to recover from decades of poor fiscal policies. Most importantly, the budget represents an opportunity to work cooperatively to achieve success for our residents. The budget, developed in consultation with NIFA, sets forth a comprehensive plan that makes Nassau County fiscally stronger each year over the next four years.
Despite the fact that the Democrat Minority Conference failed to support the budget, for a second consecutive year, I have been able to provide a budget that addresses Nassau’s issues without raising property taxes and I implore them to join me in working together to successfully implement the enacted solutions.
As a Roslyn taxpayer and a member of the Roslyn school board, I understand how important it is to have qualified and dedicated people serving us in our County government. Since my election to the school board, I have had several opportunities to work with Legislator Wayne Wink.
Recently, Wayne took the lead and opposed ending the County Guaranty. Wayne understands that passing the burden of tax certioraris on to our school district without fixing the assessment system first will have dire consequences.
Liz and I have known each other for years. She is highly regarded in the legal community for her expertise and pragmatism. Liz is originally from Great Neck and now lives in Port Washington with her husband and three children: Ben, Sam, and Lucy. She has learned to balance her family with her legal career.
Can someone please explain to me all the opposition to the Town of North Hempstead’s buyout of the Roslyn Heights pool and tennis courts?
At last month’s meeting at Town Hall, there appeared to be a lot of people against the town’s acquisition of this property. There are currently over 10 acres of land with a large pool, tennis courts and open space, which have not been open to the public for the last five years. The town is trying to acquire this property in a tax-neutral manner and to provide all its residents with another beautiful facility. At the meeting, it was clear that some of the opposition was based on incorrect assumptions, which need to be clarified.
I appreciate the strong desire on the part of the town and many of its community members to acquire and preserve the park portion of the Roslyn Country Club. However, I wish the town’s desire to preserve and improve upon the parks and land it currently owns was just as strong. Granted, Manorhaven and Tully just underwent major renovation – but those are just two of the many parks that the town owns. What about North Hempstead Beach Park? It is one of the largest of the town’s parks, it (like the Roslyn Country Club) has the potential to generate significant revenue, but it is in woeful disrepair. I have fond childhood memories of visiting Bar Beach in the 1990s. Now, as a parent, I visit the same beach with my children. Even though about 20 years have passed between then and now, much of the park’s equipment and facilities remain exactly the same. Actually, I am hard-pressed to find any improvements that have been made to the park, especially the section that used to be Hempstead Harbor. If the town continues in its failure to maintain North Hempstead Beach Park, it will slowly deteriorate and its condition may become even worse than the current state of the Roslyn Country Club, costing the town more money than it would have cost to properly maintain it through the years.
I am writing to address the ongoing discussions by the North Hempstead Town Board addressing the issue of a Town of North Hempstead take-over of the Roslyn Country Club property.
Our family has been longtime residents of the community, moving here in 1981. I have also been both an active member, officer, and member of the board of the local civic association. For many years prior to becoming residents, my siblings and I visited the facility with our parents who became Outsider Members along with many of their friends from Kew Garden Hills. Historically, while Resident Membership was maintained at $150 per year, Outsiders were charged at the Market Rate, which exceeded $1,000. If made into a Town park, the facility would offer no discounts to local residents and be available to all Town residents at the same cost.
At a recent town meeting I observed some opposition to the possible acquisition of the Roslyn Country Club property mostly because of fears about its cost to the taxpayers.
However, our representatives are assuring us this will have little to no impact on the overtaxed taxpayer. It will be revenue neutral because of an existing catering facility and membership dues. I, too, am concerned about my taxes but I’m more concerned about this rare piece of property that has been let go and denied its use. I’m more afraid it will be lost forever to an overzealous builder who would love nothing more than collect his rent from the profitable caterer and never open the rest of this 10-acre parcel that was built for recreational use. Or maybe he would rather build more homes in this already suffering community that has already been overbuilt. The town would like to take this opportunity and turn this land back into recreational use to even more residents than in the past.
We were dismayed by the public discourse at the recent North Hempstead Town Board meeting in apparent opposition to a planned new park in the section of Roslyn Heights called “Roslyn Country Club.” The Town expects to build this park without spending a single thin dime of taxpayer money.
Building and creating bold, thoughtful solutions is hard work. Yet it is so easy to be a critic. In an election year, somehow criticism and even rage become a sort of dysfunctional new vogue. Both seem, unfortunately, to rise nearly to the level of sport (in which we are all losers).
Item: Scope bulletin, published by The Roslyn Public Schools, May 2011, Vol. XLVI No. 2, Headline: “For 2011-12, Third Consecutive Budget with Little Change in Spending or Taxes.”
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