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Property Owners’ Associations Release Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Report

The Joint Conference Committee (JCC) of the four Property Owners’ Associations (POAs) has released the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee Report and analysis of the proposed 2010/2011 village budget. The report has been delivered to, and discussed with, the Finance Committee of the village board of trustees and the village administration.

The Joint Conference Committee is comprised of the presidents and vice presidents of the four Property Owners’ Associations and is a long-standing working group established to foster and enhance communication between the four POAs.

The JCC issued its statement along with the report. “We were lucky to have such a well-qualified and talented group of individuals serving on the committee. Their private industry experience is evident both in the manner by which they undertook their task and in their final recommendations. Residents should review the committee member’s professional backgrounds for an appreciation of their qualifications. The members of the committee spent numerous hours, in a very short time frame, examining the village’s 2009 budget and the proposed 2010/2011 budget, the village’s operations and the services. The committee members toured village facilities, met with the village staff, met with the Board of Trustees Finance Committee, considered outside sources and relied upon their own private industry experiences in creating the report. Three members of this year’s committee also served on last year’s Citizens Budget Committee, so they had a good working knowledge of last year’s report and budget process and their past experience was, therefore, very valuable to this year’s committee. We especially would like to thank our committee chairman, Richard Bankosky, and the vice chairman, Kristina Russo, for their help. We had a real cross section of the village represented on the committee in that some members have lived here for decades, some moved here within the last 10 years, some have school-age children and some are retired. In all, the Committee put forth a yeoman’s effort and their work will continue.”

The JCC statement continued, “As anyone who has attended the village budget meetings held in the last few weeks would have heard, the Finance Committee of the board of trustees and the full board have considered and discussed most if not all of the recommendations and suggestions of the CBRAC, and while not all were agreed upon by the board for various reasons, many are being undertaken now in the present 2010/ 2011 budget or considered for future possible implementation.”  

The purpose of the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee is to assist and advise the POAs in connection with a review and analysis of the financial systems, procedures, operations and budget of the village, and to recommend to the POAs, and ultimately to the village board of trustees, possible alternatives and recommendations for changing and improving the Village’s financial operations and budget. The Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee is advisory in nature.

CBRAC Chairman Bankosky said: “The resident volunteers of the CBRAC approached the Budget review and analysis assuming that the low level of Village revenues would be sustained for several years. Our recommendations were made during difficult economic times where every Garden City enterprise and every citizen are requiring unprecedented value from their budgets necessitating new and innovative thinking by all, including our village trustees. We have received full cooperation from the trustees and, especially, the village staff, which resulted in the committee’s better understanding of how we could reduce spending and create additional efficiencies. Although the annual budget process is coming to a conclusion, we believe that the mayor, trustees, Budget Review Committee and village staff should continue to seek efficiencies and cost reductions throughout the upcoming year so deferred projects may be reconsidered and future tax rates minimized.”

In the late fall of 2009, the POA groups again sought volunteers from the village to serve on the committee, which is comprised of eight members, consisting of two persons from each of the Western, Estates, Central and Eastern sections of the village.

The committee is comprised of the following village residents: Richard P. Bankosky, who resides in the Western section, was responsible for planning, budgeting and senior financial management for many companies ranging from Fortune 100s (AT&T and NCR), to medium-sized companies and startups. Rich served as the chief financial officer and also as the chief operating officer of numerous clients and employers during his career. Rich served on the Budget Review Committee last year. Kristina Russo, who resides in the Estates section, is a certified public accountant and also has a master’s in business administration.

Kristina spent the first five years of her career as an auditor for Ernst & Young and worked with all types of companies, including financial institutions, retail, media and broadcasting, and manufacturing. In addition, Kristina, while at Ernst & Young, spent time as part of the audit teams on the city of New York government. Kristina moved to the management side of business as part of the financial management team, at a publishing firm, CMP Media, a business-to-business, multimedia firm based in Manhasset. Kristina served as a group business manager for a collection of magazines, group controller for a division of the company, general manager for two divisions, and ultimately vice president of operations for its Internet business.

William (Bill) Holub, who also resides in the Western section, is a certified public accountant by training. Bill currently is the chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Jesup and Lamont Securities Corporation, a full-service brokerage and investment banking firm, which specializes in institutional, retail sales, trading services & equity research. Bill has particular expertise in financial operations management, cash and working capital management and strategic planning. Bill served on the Budget Review Committee last year.

Gary Kahn, from the Central section, is a psychologist in the NYC Department of Education, and a consultant to clinics and group homes. Gary served on the committee last year. Gary is also the incoming president of the Central Property Owners’ Association.

Harry Golden, from the Central section, is a retired life insurance executive officer and a longtime resident of Garden City. He has been an active member of the CPOA for the past 10 years and at one time served as its secretary. Mr. Golden served on the Budget Review Committee last year.

Courtney Rosenblatt, who also resides in the Estates section, is an accountant by training who started her career as a staff accountant at Olsten Corporation (now Adecco), a $5 billion public company. While at Olsten, Courtney was the liaison for companies’ international subsidiaries, the financial planning group, the information systems group and the external auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, as well as the corporate accounting team. Courtney also worked at C2 Media as the director of financial reporting and at Time Warner Inc. (then known as AOL Time Warner) as a finance director responsible for the budget, internal reporting and analysis of the consolidated company.

Tom McAardle, who resides in the East section, has had a 43-year career in information technology for various industries, and most recently was employed by Ernst & Young as a management consultant for eight years. He has extensive experience with financial systems and budgeting and has managed divisions of companies with an excess of 200 employees. Tom’s educational experience includes a degree in mathematics and he is also a graduate of Columbia University’s Management Training Program.

Joe Courtade, who also resides in the East section, is a certified public accountant and is director of finance and administration at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers. In prior positions, Joe has held controllership positions and roles at several service companies. He has extensive experience in financial reporting and budgeting, as well as administration. Joe has a BBA degree from Baruch College and an Advanced Certificate in accounting from Long Island University.

The full report is available on the websites of the four POA groups.