Franklin Square resident
Government efficiency – for most of us those two words don’t go together. We usually hear about government’s inefficiency. For example, there was the spring report that revealed New York State has an incredible 1,719 vendors that all provide it with pens, paper and paper clips. Or just this past week we heard about Solyndra, the solar panel company that took $535 million in federally guaranteed loans and then went belly-up. (There will be investigations and noise on Capitol Hill but the money will never be recouped.) Whatever the case, it’s enough to infuriate taxpayers and shake their faith in government but it is also what motivated me to enter public service.
Nassau County is heading closer and closer to its demise. Following a national Republican trend, the administration is targeting government workers and their unions as the main reason for the county’s financial collapse. It implies our county is being destroyed by overgenerous labor agreements, and if those aren’t amended, massive layoffs will occur.
But a lack of transparency on the county’s part clearly exists. The administration complains that Nassau has the second highest taxes in the nation, yet if the county got rid of all 6,000 of its Civil Service Employees Association workers, Nassau would still hold that regrettable status. In fact, in a $10,000 property tax bill, only $300 is for the services provided by CSEA members.
I want to thank you for the feedback I received on last week’s column in which I shared some thoughts about the tenth anniversary of September 11th. Many of you were as astonished as I was to learn that the events of day are not part of our state’s education curriculum, consequently leaving our young people asking questions that no one answers. We tell them to “Never forget,” but don’t bother explaining what it is we’re asking them to remember.
It is important that I share with you the fiscal challenges facing Nassau County. Nassau faces a projected $310 million deficit for 2012 resulting from unaffordable labor contracts, coupled with a broken assessment system and a stagnant economy that have collectively created a fiscal storm. Today [column submitted Sept. 14], I will submit a budget for 2012 that reduces year-over-year spending by $63 million. This is the first time Nassau has done so in over a generation. My budget changes the culture of taxing and spending, which has brought us to where we are today. First, let me say that my budget for the second year in a row does not include a property tax hike as our problems are not tax-driven. Nassau’s problems are spending-driven. As such, my budget significantly reduces the workforce, cuts tens of millions of dollars in spending and reforms unaffordable labor contracts.
LIPA caused us all a lot of grief in the week following the hurricane. There were thousands of people who remained without power after Hurricane Irene and it seemed as if my office heard from each and every one of them. We literally logged hundreds upon hundreds of angry calls and e-mails and most had virtually the same complaint: There was no power and LIPA wasn’t telling them anything. People who were already very upset by not having electricity had their frustration further exacerbated by LIPA’s unbelievable lack of communication.
Unfortunately, in regards to power restoration, all my staff could do was continuously contact LIPA with the complaints and wait for status updates we could share with residents. I did promise myself though that as soon as the lights were back on I would draw attention to LIPA’s utter failure to keep us informed.
The Long Island Water Conference (LIWC) continues to assure residents that Long Island water suppliers are committed to providing the highest quality drinking water possible, while managing the region’s water resource.
Contrary to recent erroneous media reports, which have indicated that the quality of our water is gradually deteriorating, Long Island water suppliers have been at the forefront of managing our environment for decades. For many years, safeguarding Long Island’s water supply has been – and will continue to be – the number one priority for water providers throughout Long Island. Long Island water providers have held polluters accountable for their actions and will continue to be proactive in their fight to maintain clean water.
It’s difficult to write about the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Representing a district that suffered a tremendous loss of life that day, one that saw so many of our first responders involved in rescue efforts, I thought it best to avoid platitudes that bring very little comfort to those still suffering. Instead I will simply share some observations on where we stand now.
September 11 will go down as one of the defining historical events in our nation’s history, much like Pearl Harbor or John F. Kennedy’s assassination. These events spur people to action and generally shape policy for years to come. In this case, it sparked an unprecedented war on terrorism, both at home and abroad. It reminded us just how precious life is, it emphasized that which unites us, and it gave us an appropriate appreciation for public servants who protect us personally and who protect our way of life.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano suggested the following measures for Nassau County residents with property damage:
• The first step to getting your home restored is to contact your insurance company and/or agent with your policy number and other relevant information. Be aware that your policy might require that you make this notification within a certain time frame.
We’ve had hail the size of baseballs, an earthquake, and now Hurricane Irene. Maybe Mother Nature is trying to tell us something. Metaphors aside, each incident serves as an intense reminder that preparation is always the best prevention. Along those lines, we’ve heard debate for a number of years as to whether Long Island is prepared for a hurricane. I think this past weekend we demonstrated that we are.
I’ve been making my way around our district to assess the damage and I’ve seen flooding, downed trees, and many residents and businesses without power as of this writing. Yet, while I ate breakfast in the dark this morning, I was thankful that except for some isolated incidents, we proceeded without major injury or catastrophe.
Page 14 of 37<< Start < Prev 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Next > End >>