During a lengthy board of education meeting on Nov. 16, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen addressed two countywide tax issues that directly affect the Garden City School District and local taxpayers.
At an October board meeting, Feirsen announced that he learned that the county legislature building, located at 1550 Franklin Avenue, had appeared in error on the school tax rolls resulting in a staggering $1.3 million tax bill for the Garden City School District.
Rockaway Avenue residents and neighbors of Garden City High School came en masse to the board of education meeting on Nov. 16, to adamantly oppose the current bond construction project taking place at Garden City High School. Among the many issues that were raised, residents were focused on the safety of the stadium, citing the dangerous traffic conditions and noise from construction, and requested the bleachers be moved to the opposite side of the athletic field.
In October of 2009, Garden City community members voted and passed the school investment bond to address substantial facilities and space needs throughout the district. The $36.5 million bond includes renovation costs to meet health and safety code requirements, as well as reclaim and add learning space for academic programs. The bond called for several structural repairs to the damaged exterior at the high school, which was built in 1953. As a result, the high school’s stadium bleachers were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The open wood risers pose potential safety hazards and needed to be repaired, according to the district’s website.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a jury has convicted a Garden City woman of agreeing to pay a hitman $20,000 to kill her husband. In reality, the hitman she thought she was hiring was actually an undercover Nassau County Police detective.
A jury took less than four hours to convict Susan Williams, 44, of Conspiracy in the Second Degree and Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. She faces up to 25 years in prison at her Dec.17 sentencing. The trial lasted nearly two weeks.
Residents got their first chance to see and hear about the long-awaited revisions of the village’s zoning code. Superintendent of Buildings Michael Filippon presented the zoning amendments at the most recent board of trustees meeting. Some of the items that are being considered for change are the permitted accessory structures, widths of driveways, dwelling regulations and the requirement for advance approval by the Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB) for amendments to the size and appearance of residences.
According to Filippon, the project was first discussed eight years ago under Garden City Mayor Lewis’ tenure. “As you know this has been a very long, often delayed project,” Filippon said. “What prompted this was, in that particular part of the village, certain residents were complaining about what they perceived to be obvious violations of our accessory structure laws in the zoning code, that is that there were any number of variety of structures in front yards which, by our code, is not permitted.”
Memorial Day 2011 is the tentative date set to unveil the new Garden City Veterans Memorial. Early in 2010, under the leadership of Committee Chair and Village Board Trustee Dennis Donnelly and a committee of residents and trustees, a plan was designed to upgrade and relocate the village’s memorial.
Vietnam veteran and Garden City resident Cyril Smith originally proposed the idea last January as a way to pay homage to those veterans who lost their lives in wartime. The Committee on the War Memorial recently met and will be going forward with the rehabilitation and upgrade of the memorial, which will be located opposite the current WWII War Memorial on Seventh Street.
The 7th State Senate District recount and absentee ballot count began Wednesday, Nov. 10. The counts are reportedly going to conclude sometime Friday. While Mineola Mayor Jack Martins has already claimed victory, Democrats feel the race for incumbent Sen. Craig Johnson’s seat is a race far from over.
As of last Wednesday, Johnson is down by 415 votes. Martins tallied in at 41,041 votes while Johnson concluded at 40,626.
Concerning the broad spectrum of the senate races, Democrats must win all three remaining undecided races to keep the majority they captured in 2008, while Republicans need to win two, according to the Board of Elections. In the 62-seat chamber, a majority requires 32 and Republicans have won 30 seats to Democrats 29.
NextG’s cell antennas and aircraft noise are still on the minds of residents who turned up at the Environmental Advisory Board meeting last week. The board listened to residents’ concerns and vowed to continue to research the laws on radio frequency emissions emitted from NextG’s Networks Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS).
At a village board meeting last month, many individuals voiced their opposition to the recent installation of the DAS in nine Garden City residents’ backyards. Many residents questioned the health risks of the radio frequency emissions and their close proximity to residences. Quinn reminded the audience that the village board recently approved a motion to engage an environmental firm to perform an emission analysis of the particular areas in question. He also reported that the board should receive a preliminary proposal by a firm in the very near future.
The Nassau County Legislature continued a hearing on County Executive Edward P. Mangano’s 2011 proposed budget that went on all day Friday, Oct. 29, and late into Saturday night, eventually passing the $2.6 billion plan along party lines with Halloween approaching and opposing lawmakers accusing that the budget’s “no tax increase” label was just a costume.
As the county executive struggles to keep Nassau County out of bankruptcy with some surprising and painful budgetary moves, several items at the heart of a heated ongoing public debate included the imminent loss of bus service within Nassau, the shifting of tax refund responsibility to schools and local municipalities and a new sewer fee to be imposed on tax exempt entities. These controversial moves and some proposed budget cuts drew a huge crowd to the hearing. Audience members filled the legislative chamber to legal capacity Friday, with many spilling out into the foyer to watch the proceedings on closed circuit TV, waiting hours for a turn to protest inside.
At the most recent village board meeting, the Garden City Board of Trustees continued discussions on how to resolve residents’ complaints about the recently installed Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) by NextG Networks, which are located on public easements in backyards of nine Garden City residents.
At a village meeting earlier in the month, residents questioned the health risks that the DAS could pose to their families and neighbors over the long-term. In an effort to analyze what, if any, the hazards of these DAS may be, Trustees Dennis Donnelly and Nicholas Episcopia proposed a joint motion “to engage an environmental testing firm to conduct samples at all nine NextG locations within the village to document and verify all radio frequencies and/or radiation associated with these emissions and the results of these should be reported back to the village in an expeditious manner,” Donnelly said.
As news of Nassau County’s tax woes continues to make headlines, Garden City School District found itself caught in the crosshairs of more controversy. At last week’s board of education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen addressed the county’s proposed legislation to end the ‘county guarantee,’ where the county pays for its assessment mistakes. The board also discussed the county’s recent admission that it mistakingly taxed its own building generating a staggering bill of $1,277,502 for the Garden City School District.
Dr. Feirsen said the legislation, entitled the Commonsense Act of 2010, would have a potentially adverse effect on Garden City and all Nassau County school districts. Dr. Feirsen, along with Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Albert Chase and School Board Trustees Angela Heineman and Laura Hastings, attended a public hearing to discuss the tax cost shift plan before it is officially voted on by the Nassau County Legislature on Oct. 29.
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