Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 11 February 2011 00:00
In perhaps the shortest Village of Westbury monthly board meeting in recent memory, board members presented a few updates on village happenings.
Mayor Cavallaro said the most recent snowstorm put the village at their limit for snow removal for the year.
“Obviously it’s something which is an important function to do. We have a contingency fund in the budget to handle those types of contingencies so it won’t put us over the budget overall. Every municipality in the state, or at least in this part of the state, is over budget. We’re doing the best we can.
“If we have more snow, I don’t know where we’re going to put it, but we’ll manage,” said Cavallaro.
The mayor admitted that the village didn’t do as good a job as they could have or should have clearing crosswalks and handicapped ramps along Post Avenue, but the Department of Public Works went out and eventually remedied those situations. Cavallaro, overall, called the village’s snow removal efforts “excellent” and said that they’ll use this year’s experiences as a way to improve for the future.
“We obviously did receive some complaints but we received many more compliments than complaints,” said Cavallaro, who noted that the Carle Place Civic Association forwarded him an email favorably comparing the village’s snow removal efforts to that of the Town of North Hempstead, specifically in the Carle Place section.
“I think because we’re smaller and we’re more focused on the community, it’s easier for us than it is for the town to clear all the areas that we have to clear,” he added.
The mayor also gave his take on the current financial status of the state.
“The state of the State is not good. Schools are going to be hit with decreases in state aid. The village of Westbury will also receive less state monies. Fortunately, what we’re hearing now is that we will not be receiving a reduction in our CHIPS money, which is the money that we use from the state to do roadwork every year,” he noted.
Cavallaro also explained that another issue on the state level is the property tax cap, which he said is the government proposal to cap local budget increases and tax increases at two percent.
“It sounds like a great idea and everybody favors limited tax increases and reducing tax increases if you can, but if you translate that down on to our level and you combine that with the kinds of the things that the state imposes on local municipalities to do and monies to spend, it’s going to be a very difficult cap for local municipalities to deal with,” he said.
As for the upcoming village elections, he said the village – which utilized electronic voting last year – could be forced to revert to a more dated method of casting votes.
“There’s a question about how the election is actually going to be run. From a legal standpoint, as of now, the village is either required to hold our election using electronic machines, which the board of elections is not going to make available to us, or use paper ballots.
“There’s a bill pending in Albany to try to get the state to permit us at least for a year, maybe two, to use the old lever machines. If not, you may be passing your votes for the next village election on a paper ballot,” Cavallaro explained.
“There’s a lot going on around us which is going to impact what we’re going to have to do in the coming year and we’ll keep you posted on that, but the environment for municipal government is not getting easier,” he closed.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, several residents commended the village for its snow removal efforts, and one recalled how the village plows didn’t leave a huge mound of snow in her driveway. Cavallaro said his house, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortuitous.