Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 16 October 2009 00:00
In less than a month, Long Island residents will be going to the polls to elect local officials for counties and towns. In Nassau County, the key issue is the ever-increasing tax burden on residents and property owners. In the 3rd Legislative District of the Nassau County Legislature, Democratic candidate Nina Petraro Bastardi and Republican incumbent John Ciotti both are making the reduction of taxes part of their campaign, although their approaches differ.
Petraro Bastardi recently held a press conference outside of Sanitation District #6, which provides garbage services to Elmont, Franklin Square, Garden City South, Lakeview, Malverne Park, South Floral Park and West Hempstead. The sanitation district is what’s known as a special district and a new law allows residents to eliminate layers of governments such as a special district with a petition and a referendum vote.
Petraro Bastardi believes the residents who are served by Sanitation District #6 can be better served economically by getting their garbage service through the Town of Hempstead. “Nowhere else in the state or nation do we have so many layers of government driving up our taxes. Town Supervisors are elected to manage the budget and services provided to residents. There is no reason why any Town Supervisor should not be overseeing these services,” she said. “That is why I am joining with our local residents to announce that we will start to build this movement to consolidate special districts by gathering the names of supporters so that when the petitioning process begins we will be ready to take action. We are determined to put a referendum on the ballot to consolidate our special districts and save families of the 3rd Legislative District money during the tough economic times.”
Meanwhile, Ciotti has his focus on a Home Energy Tax that was imposed by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and the Democratic Majority of the Nassau County Legislature. The 2.5 percent tax on all residential home energy sources, including LIPA, electrical usage, oil, natural gas, steam services, coal, propane and firewood, went into effect on June 1.
Ciotti, along with his eight Republican colleagues on the Nassau County Legislature, vows to repeal the tax if the Republicans take control of the Legislature. Democrats currently hold a 10-9 majority. “This is just the thin edge of the wedge. How can we ensure that the county executive won’t raise the tax every year?” he said.