I read with great interest the story on the state of the Town of North Hempstead. Absent the facts, an unschooled reader would think that North Hempstead is a model of municipal fiscal strength. However, the facts tell a different story about our town finances. But what are the facts?
The supervisor states that there was no real property tax increase in North Hempstead for its residents. In reality, at least as it relates to homeowners, there are several real property tax increases. The tax rate for homeowners increases 3.8 percent in the general fund; 4.3 percent in the park town fund; and 3.1 percent in the highway fund. This means that homeowners living in villages in North Hempstead will see an increase of 3.8 percent in their tax rate and homeowners in the unincorporated areas of the town such as Manhasset, New Hyde Park, Port Washington, Carle Place, Albertson, Roslyn and New Cassel, will see an aggregate increase in their tax rate of 11.2 percent. It also means that North Hempstead has the highest aggregate tax rate in Nassau County, as published by the New York state comptroller.
The supervisor states that there is a continuing surplus and a stable fund balance. In reality, a review of the budget heading "Actual Fund Balances" shows no surplus or fund balance whatsoever. If such a surplus or fund balance really existed, it should have been applied to reduce the tax rate and not increase it as the Democrat majority did when it passed its budget in November 2004.
The supervisor states that the debt burden of the town is "falling." In reality, as reported by the state comptroller in his "2004 Annual Report on Local Governments," North Hempstead has the largest total outstanding debt of any town in New York State ($316,420,220). These increases go against the statewide downward trend experienced by all other towns in New York State since 1992, the year the Democrats took control of North Hempstead town government. Indeed the town's debt is so out of control that it represents a full 10 percent of the total debt for all of the 900 + towns statewide.
The list of misstatements goes on and on. The town has done nothing to improve code enforcement, improve the parks, clean our streets and so on. Maybe someday the whole story will be reported. Unlike other media outlets, Anton makes no provision for an opposing view, electing to parrot the Democrats without seeking an alternate opinion or viewpoint.
(Editor's note: The author, a Carle Place resident, ran on the Republican ticket for town supervisor in 2003 and was defeated by Democrat Jon Kaiman. The reporter who covered the State of the Town address was unable to reach Republican councilman Angelo Ferrara for comment.)