Spring hasn’t arrived yet, but the school budget season has. Superintendent of Garden City Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen held the first in a series of school budget presentations for the 2011/12 academic year. The proposal includes an overall budget of $101,117,058, with a budget-to-budget increase of $3,128,568 or 3.19 percent. The projected tax levy increase (with STAR) is 2.71 percent.
This year’s overview and revenue projections were clearly influenced by the current fiscal climate, NYS projections for state aid, pension, health insurance and other mandates, according to Dr. Feirsen. “This is called the superintendent’s budget because it hasn’t been touched by the board of education. It is really what I have prepared for the board. There are citizens’ comments that we encourage and respond to over the next several weeks. We encourage participation from organized parent groups in the community and, ultimately the board will adopt a budget that will be presented to the voters,” Feirsen said.
It’s official. In a vote of 5 to 3, the Final Environmental Impact Statement for St. Paul’s was accepted by the board of trustees at the first board meeting of February. Mayor Rothschild, Trustees Nicholas Episcopia, Dennis Donnelly, Laurence Quinn, and Brian Daughney voted in favor of acceptance, and Deputy Mayor Donald Brudie, Trustees John Watras and Andrew Cavanaugh voted against.
After a long period of public hearings and commentary on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement this fall, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was prepared over the past few months by the law firm Sive, Paget & Risel. In December, Village Counsel Gerard Fishberg explained that the preparation of the document was a fairly large job, which he said involved putting together all the public comments that have been made over the entire process, as well as providing responses to those comments.
On Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 2011, Punxsutawney Phil was raised from his burrow on his 125th birthday. After surveying his surroundings carefully, the furry weather forecaster found there was no shadow around and his handlers proclaimed that ‘spring is near.’ With record levels of snow accumulations this month, storm cleanups have already spent approximately 85 percent of the Village of Garden City’s snow budget.
Village Auditor Jim Olivo commented on the ongoing snow woes at the most recent village board meeting. “We had a storm last week that had about $19,000 worth of overtime attached to it. It’s clear that this winter has not been kind and we are contingent at this point for overtime money. So if we have anymore snow, we’ll be coming to the board for overtime,” Olivo said. “Let’s hope the groundhog was right,” he said, adding there has been some issues discussed of where to move the snow.
‘You have breast cancer.’ Upon hearing those four small words, your life is indelibly about to change forever. For the past 30 years, women and men across Long Island diagnosed with breast cancer have called the Adelphi NY State Breast Cancer Hotline for much-needed help, emotional support and critical information.
Founded in 1980, the Adelphi NY State Breast cancer program was the first in New York State to exclusively address the psychosocial issues associated with breast cancer. Since its inception, the hotline’s public relations consultant, Lyn Dobrin, has been working for the organization based in Garden City.
On Saturday, Jan. 22, various village departments presented their five-year Capital Improvement Plans at Village Hall. The meeting featured a broad overview of the village departments’ capital needs for fiscal years ending 2012 through 2016.
The village’s five-year capital plan has been in place for the last 29 years and is used to help identify essential projects and also equipment acquisitions. To give a historical perspective, capital plans have ranged anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the total village budget. Capital plans include debt service and the proposed plan, if enacted, would represent 5.5 percent of the expected budget. Last fiscal year, this area comprised 5.25 percent of the total $53,641,341.
During the capital plan presentation, Village Auditor Jim Olivo discussed the important aspects of the 2011/12 budget. “We do have a $200,000 increase in debt service for the projects that we’ve put on last year. We’ll also see a debt service increase next year for the same reason. We are not suggesting that any debt be issued for this capital plan. This is very much of a fund-it-as-you-go capital plan,” Olivo said.
As snow gently fell over the Town of Hempstead, a firestorm of epic proportions erupted during the town board meeting at the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion on Tuesday, Jan. 25. In a united front, animal activists appeared in droves to address the board about the alleged poor conditions at Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter in Wantagh.
In December of 2010, Anton Newspapers reported shelter volunteers Diane Madden of East Meadow, Lucille DeFina of Merrick, and Frances Lucivero-Pelletier of Levittown alleged that they were banned from the shelter since late October of 2010 after making claims of animal abuse and neglect at the shelter. After the Dec. 7, 2010, town board meeting, the three women filed a lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead, Kate Murray, Bruce Hallbert, Jill Schuster, Patricia Horan, Vincent Napoli, Joanne Miranda, Russel Davis, and Ashley Sheridan.
Things are about to get even sweeter in Garden City at the upcoming grand opening of Cupcake Corner Too! on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 2-5 p.m. Residents can stop in to enjoy a host of giveaways, taste a sampling of six types of new specialty cupcakes, as well as learn about upcoming adult and children’s classes.
Established in October 2009, The Cupcake Corner’s original location has quickly become a hot spot on the West End of Garden City. Village residents and proprietors John and Laura Graney say their idea to open their own business spawned out of a desire to have a shop in the neighborhood where they could enjoy a quick bite and relax.
Some local residents may be poised to cash in on some of New York State’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds. Michael Caplice, the Long Island Representative for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, recently met with Stewart Manor Mayor James J. Kelly to announce that many Stewart Manor residents are owed money. Caplice will be on site at the Stewart Manor Village Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from noon until 2 p.m. to help residents determine if they are owed money.
“We are extremely pleased to be working with the State Comptroller’s Office in this effort to help our village residents with the process of first determining if they are owed any of the state’s $10.5 billion in unclaimed funds, and then with claiming any funds that they are owed,” said Mayor Kelly.
After nearly a month-long break, the Garden City Board of Trustees reconvened for their first meeting of 2011. After an opening moment of silence to remember victims of the shootings in Arizona, Mayor Robert J. Rothschild announced that the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) contract was unanimously approved and ratified by the board of trustees. The news met with a mixed reaction from citizens, who offered praise, criticism and suggestions.
The mayor stated that on Dec.16, 2010, the board entered into an executive session and, at that time, they reviewed the provisions of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Incorporated Village of Garden City and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) regarding a contract period from June 1, 2010, through and including May 1, 2012.
Several riled up residents attended the board of trustees meeting last week to continue initiating discussions regarding NextG Network’s Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that were installed in the backyards of nine homeowners in Garden City this past summer. Some residents raised questions about additional DAS being installed in other villages across Long Island, while others testified to the negative impact the antennas have on property values.
Last year, the village board responded to the concerns of residents and directed village staff to identify a professional engineering firm and obtain a proposal to perform a series of detailed tests within the rear yards and homes that are adjacent to the nine sites where NextG Networks installed antennas to rear yard utility poles in order to document radio frequency (RF) emissions. On Nov. 4, the board approved engaging VitaTech Engineering, LLC of Fredericksburg, VA, to perform the tests and submit a report of the findings at cost not exceeding $17,000.
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