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.
The Nassau County Executive’s proposal to shift a portion of multi-year tax certiorari settlements to school districts met with opposition at last week’s special meeting during a work session of the Garden City Board of Education. The school board unanimously passed a resolution formally objecting to the county’s action in repealing the Nassau County Tax Refund Guarantee, which holds school districts harmless from payments of property tax claims.
As one of only two counties that perform assessments statewide, Nassau County received permission through a special act of the New York State Legislature to perform property assessments in 1938, according to Garden City Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen. As a result, the county assumed responsibility for paying the claims of any successful certiorari suits, which are initiated to say that an individual or property owner’s tax assessment is wrong. Feirsen maintained that the bulk of the claims go to businesses that file as being over assessed. “The county, over the years, has accumulated a substantial amount of debt trying to payback assessment taxes that are refunded to individual business as a result of over assessments,” Feirsen said.
A ‘not in my backyard’ fight is brewing in Garden City as angry residents vented frustrations about the recent NextG Networks cell antenna installations in residential communities at last week’s village board meeting.
It was standing room only as throngs of residents filed in to Village Hall to ask why NextG, a public utility company that utilizes Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to operate wireless networks, placed antenna boxes on public easements in the backyards of nine Garden City residents.
While most homeowners were alarmed about potential dangers and health risks from radio frequencies emitted so close to their homes, others stated how the devices would diminish property values.
Select 13th Avenue residents attended last week’s Mineola board of Trustee’s meeting to explain their continuing discontent with the noise emanating from the Verizon Wireless Plant in Garden City that has been plaguing them since December. Various residents called for Mineola to join them in their possible lawsuit against the Village of Garden City and Verizon.
Mayor Jack Martins was not present at last week’s public meeting but has stated at past meetings that negotiations and talks were going smoothly until the resident filed a claim against said parties. Martins was contacted by a legal representative of unnamed residents on June 15 stating that they’d like to be kept abreast on the situation regarding Verizon, the Village of Garden City and the noise issues that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
For 17 years, the village of Garden City and its residents have debated what to do with landmark St. Paul’s Main Building and Ellis Hall. Last week, residents and non-residents offered varied opinions during the second public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). While many of the speakers were steadfast in their support of saving the iconic building, many others asked the board to consider holding a public referendum to vote on whether or not they would support a bond to save or demolish the structure.
Mayor Robert J. Rothschild opened the hearing by saying it was nice to see that so many citizens from as far as Australia were interested in seeing what happens to St. Paul’s School. With the final comment period ending on Oct. 10, the mayor showed the audience a large pile of emails that he received that afternoon and said they will be responded to and be recorded in the FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement).
It’s that time of the election year again when incumbents and challengers alike flock to local libraries care of the League of Women Voters to voice their views on current topics and issues surrounding the respective areas they hope to either continue to or to newly represent.
The League of Women Voters of Eastern Nassau played host to Meet the Candidates Night at the East Meadow Library last week. Incumbents and challengers from the 6th and 8th Senate Districts, 17th and 19th Assembly Districts were on hand to take questions from the audience in an effort to clarify their take on Albany, Long Island and more.
The Garden City Board of Education held their first meeting of the school year. The Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen explained the schools’ first week was off to “a smooth start,” he said. “We did quite a number of projects and a lot work over the summer on the buildings, inside and outside the buildings,” he said.
Joseph Chiarelli, construction manager of T.G. Nickel & Associates, updated the status of the middle school parking lot expansion project. “We were fortunate to have a great-weather summer and good contract. We were able to achieve what we set out to. We did substantially complete the parking lot. There’s just a punch-list remaining and remaining miscellaneous items to complete,” he said.
If you want to voice your opinion about the St. Paul’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), time is running out. Residents will have one last chance to speak to the board of trustees during the second public hearing on the DEIS, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.
A packed crowd of Long Islanders turned out for the first public hearing on Aug. 19. While the majority of attendees spoke out in opposition of the demolition of the school, two residents stood their ground and said they were in favor of tearing down St. Paul’s.
The public hearing to address the MTA’s proposed fare hikes held at the Garden City Hotel on Sept. 16 was met with a literal “twist” of fate. As LIRR and LI Bus riders started shuffling into the hotel at 5 p.m. to register to speak, thousands of Long Island-bound commuters were about to be stranded in Penn Station. Two tornadoes ripped through New York City at the height of rush hour, causing the MTA to suspend all LIRR service.
Despite the interruption by Mother Nature, the public hearing proceeded as planned—and with no shortage of registered speakers. Concerned commuters, including public officials and representatives from United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County, Inc., spoke out against the MTA’s recent service cuts and proposed fare increase. Service cuts that took effect as of Sept. 13 impacted the Atlantic Terminal, Long Beach, Montauk, Port Washington, Ronkonkoma and Greenport. Perhaps the hardest hit was West Hempstead, which, as of Sept. 18, will no longer offer weekend service. Proposed fare increases vary, but the cost of most tickets could increase by as much as 14.3 percent.
After a slow summer, merchants across New York State are hoping to get a big boost in business from the New York Press Association’s (NYPA) “$25 on the 25th” marketing initiative. NYPA recently partnered with the New York State Conference of Mayors and the New York State Economic Development Council to launch a statewide advocacy campaign to encourage New Yorkers to spend $25 on the 25th of September at a local main street business.
According to NYPA’s website, “This special $25 on the 25th promotional event will provide an opportunity for community businesses to restore and expand their customer bases by reminding consumers about the diversity of their products and services, by redefining customer service and by providing a “green” shopping experience that reduces automobile use and pollution while providing access to the local farmers’ markets that frequent Main Street during the growing season.”
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