[Editor’s Note: The following letter was written in response to a letter to the editor written by Tom Lamberti, entitled “Our Executive Staff, ”which was published in the Dec. 29 edition of Garden City Life.]
Former Village Trustee Tom Lamberti’s position on compensation for village employees is a real head-scratcher. Mr. Lamberti vigorously objects to a modest, annual 1.5 percent wage increase for the lowest-paid village employees. Yet, on the other hand, he attacks the current trustees for asking our highest-paid managers to start contributing to the cost of their health insurance.
Please be advised that village offices were closed on Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Day. There were no garbage or recycling pickups for Monday, Jan. 16 and no rubbish pickup on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
The holiday collection schedule will be as follows:
Western half of Village (West of Rockaway Avenue)
Garbage: Tuesday and Thursday
Rubbish: Wednesday, January 25
Eastern Half of Village (East of Rockaway Avenue)
Garbage: Wednesday and Friday
Rubbish: Wednesday, January 25
While it is true that the issues related to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” are not simple we should not be influenced by much of the misinformation that has been disseminated and we should base our decisions on the facts and develop a regulatory regime which can assure safety and environmental sensitivity.
It is ironic that natural gas development, which can reduce carbon emissions by a third compared to oil and a half compared to coal, is caught in an emotional debate over environmental impacts. As businessman and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, using data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, this abundant new gas source has reduced our oil imports from 60 percent in 2005 to 47 percent today. Recent events in the Middle East should reinforce the need for a U.S. energy policy based on domestic natural gas.
A reminder to residents who have a natural Christmas tree or wreath to dispose of, please leave them at the curb on your regularly scheduled recycling collection day. They will be collected by the Department of Public Works and offered to other agencies for beach erosion control or rendered at the village yard for use around trees and shrubs as mulch.
Please assist the village by removing tree stands, strands of electric lights and plastic bags from the discarded trees and cooperate with your neighbors by disposing of them only on the scheduled recycling collection days.
As representatives of many voices in the breast cancer community on Long Island, our coalition urges Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State since 25 percent of chemicals used in the fracking process have been demonstrated to cause cancer or mutations. Hydrofracking companies use products containing 13 different known and suspected carcinogens. Two of those carcinogens, benzene and ethylene oxide are linked with breast cancer as cited recently by a report released by the Institute of Medicine.
Moreover, 37 percent of chemicals in fracking fluids are endocrine disruptors which alter hormonal signaling and in doing so can place cells on the pathway to tumor formation. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary.
The second half of village taxes, which were due and payable on December 1, 2011 are subject to penalty if payment is not made within a 30-day grace period. This year payments received after January 3, 2012, will be subject to penalty. Please return the “second half” bill stub with your payment made payable to the Incorporated Village of Garden City. Please note that Village Hall will be closed on Jan. 2 in observance of the New Year’s holiday. As stated above, tax payments may be placed in the letter slot at the east entrance to Village Hall.
My office has been advised that in keeping their commitment to improving customer service and communication, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has implemented a new outage communication tool which will allow customers to report electrical outages at their home or business via texting from their mobile device.
At this time of year many of us enjoy Christmas songs that convey beautiful thoughts. Joy is the transcending theme, as it should be, celebrating for all regardless of faith or private beliefs a theme of renewal. It is especially appropriate at this time of year that our enduring hope be one of peace, certainly for ourselves here in Garden City, and also for all the people of the earth; that our common goal this special season will be “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
At the Board of Trustees (“Board”) meeting on Dec. 15, 2011, the Board adopted a resolution requiring the executive staff to pay 15 percent of their health insurance premiums.
In December 2010, the Board entered into a four-year contract, (June 1, 2010 to May 31, 2013), with the CSEA for 181 village employees. The contract provided wage increases of 1-½ percent each year and did not change their health insurance contributions, which were zero or 10 percent depending on when they were hired. Trustee Cavanaugh said this contract “was based on a reasonable weighting of the fiscal environment with a fair recognition of the efforts of our employees.”
As previously advised, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) will be working in the vicinity of Washington Avenue and Transverse Road to repair a major underground electrical cable that was determined to be in need of emergency replacement. We have been further informed that this work will not be completed until sometime in January. We have just received word from LIPA that a major portion of the work will be completed during the week of Dec. 19.
This work has necessitated the closure of Washington Avenue between Eleventh Street and Supreme Court Drive. Night security personnel from LIPA are at the site from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Residents who have driveways on Washington Avenue can park on the side streets. In an effort to detour traffic away from residential areas, additional detour signs directing motorists to County Seat Drive have been added along Old Country Road. A large electronic billboard sign for eastbound Old Country Road traffic to turn onto County Seat Drive and an electronic sign and a red detour sign for eastbound Eleventh Street traffic to use County Seat Drive has been added. The Garden City Police Department has advised me that traffic between Washington Avenue and County Seat Drive is lighter than usual, which is an indicator that the signs appear to be working. The Garden City Police Department has also added additional traffic patrols to nearby residential areas.
Don’t let the unseasonably warm weather fool you. Winter is coming soon, and things are going to get frosty before you know it! Cold weather can cause serious problems for household water pipes and sprinkler systems. Each winter, your pipes can freeze and possibly burst, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. While these issues affect many homeowners each year, there are a variety of quick, easy steps that you can take to protect your home from water-related damage and unnecessary expenses during the winter months.
In order to avoid damaging pipes, sprinkler systems should be winterized before the temperature dips below freezing. Make sure to drain and turn off your sprinkler system before the start of the winter season. Also be sure to drain outside faucets and turn off all other outside water sources to prevent freezing and breaks. Additionally, check your water meter pit cover to ensure that it is intact and firmly bolted down. Shutting off and draining all water service lines to unheated structures until spring will prevent breaks to these lines.
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