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Mayor’s Corner: January 21, 2010

2010 Brings New Challenges

I want to wish all Westbury residents a very happy new year. With each new year comes new challenges and goals, and 2010 will not be an exception for the village.

The general feeling in the media and press seems to be that the economy is slowly beginning to turn more positive and that the past year’s economic crisis is subsiding. However, for municipal governments, like the Village of Westbury, the impacts of last year’s economic turmoil will likely be more evident in 2010 than last year. This is because last year, federal stimulus dollars were available to federal, state and county governments to fill in budget gaps. That money is not likely to be available in 2010. Governments will therefore have to resort to their own resources to make their budgets work.

Governor David Paterson’s recent State of the State Address made it clear that New York’s budget and economic woes are far from over. Unfortunately, there is a trickle-down effect to local municipalities like the village.

In 2010, villages and school districts are likely to see significant revenue loss by way of cuts in state aid. The Village of Westbury, for example, could see the loss of hundreds of thousand of dollars in state aid in 2010, as well as increased state-mandated costs. This “double whammy” will make our financial budgeting difficult.

We are confident, however, that we will be able to find the cost cuts and efficiency measures necessary to allow us to continue to provide the services to which our residents are accustomed. Our current year budget demonstrated that we have the ability and commitment to cut unnecessary costs, streamline operations and get more for the tax dollars we collect. We were also able to find new revenue sources to balance our spending and revenue.

While it appears that 2010 will be a more difficult financial year than last year, The Village Board and I are committed to making certain that the village remains on strong financial footing.

Increased Code Enforcement

Nassau County has experienced a flurry of house and car break-ins over the past several months, and Westbury has not been spared from this plague.

Residents should know that the village has been in communication with the police department and been assured that patrols have been increased and that investigations are ongoing. For our part, the village is increasing its patrol of code enforcement vehicles during the times of the day when these incidents have been reported. We hope that the increased visible presence in the community will deter these acts.

We are grateful to the 3rd Precinct for its swift and diligent response to our concerns. With continued diligence, it is only a matter of time before these criminals are caught. I would ask all village residents to be alert and immediately report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.