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Williston Park Historical Winners Honored at Meeting

At the last Williston Park Village Board meeting, the board, in conjunction with the Williston Park Historical Committee, announced the winners of the 4th fourth grade Annual Historical Contest.

The winners are then invited to Williston Park Village Hall and are given the title of the board mayor and trustees and they then read their winning essays to those assembled at the meeting, including their parents.

This year, the coveted title of mayor was awarded to Ryan Wong and the trustees were Robert Hazelton, Jessica Regler, Richard Sullivan and Brian Rogan. The winners did a great job in reading their essays on basically why they loved living in Williston Park. Their reasons varied from feeling safe in the community to feeling happy in such a great place to live, and having, right in their own backyard such a wonderful pool.

Mayor Odierna then gave Beautification Awards to the following businesses in the village:   Tthe Williston Town House for its spectacular waterfall; for Ceriello’s Fine Foods for awaysalways  keeping their place so neat and clean and to Hawthorne Service Station that has been in the village for more than 60 years and has never varied their fine quality of service.

After all the awards were distributed, the children and those honored left and the mayor continued with the meeting.

The mayor said, “We have good news, the bond rating report for the village has been increased.  When we took office the bond rating was A-.  In   time we improved it to A.   Now, our latest Standard and& Poors rating is AA.  We have worked to do that and the two things that have brought this together is the fact that our water deficit of approximately $300,000 is now being paid off at the end of the year.

“The other reason we are being given this financial rating is that our financial reserves are very strong. The AA is a boast of three positions of bond ratings.

“Now, twhat does that mean to us?   This week we are going out to sell two bonds. One for the roads, the other for the water.   The improvement rating will allow us to receive a better rating a far as the price of our bonds. In other words, our price will improve by 50 basis points which is a one-half percent and that half-percent will yield us approximately $110,000 in savings to the village. So this is a very good thing that happened to the village and we are proud to bring that news to you.

“We have worked very diligently with Dave Tanner, from Liberty.   He told what we have to do to improve our bond rating.   He is a consultant to other villages and he did a great job for this village. We all know he is a trustee in our neighboring village, but he is so professional that confidentiallyconfidentiality on both sides is Dave’s way ofdoing business. Mayor Odierna continued, “We were visited this morning by two people from the federal census bureau.   In 2010 they are going to take a census and they are looking for everyone’s cooperation.   Forms will be distributed to citizens and non-citizens and it is in our best interest that every citizen fill them out and return them.   I asked how is it in our best interest? And the representatives said that it’s about $2,000 a year per person.  And, the reason is that when grant money comes they are looking at the census.   Further, they are looking for volunteers to work for the census bureau in Williston Park.   Anyone interested in working on the census, please contact Williston Park Village Clerk Julie Kane at 248-1088.”

“The next item,” the mayor said. “Several of us went to the Village Dissolution Meeting at held at Mineola High School.   With me was trustee Smith and attorney Richard Reers.

“It was held by the Nassau County Village Officials and the purpose of it was to learn as much as we could about New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s recommendation to dissolve villages and services. We need your imput to your state senator to say this does not   work on Long Island.   There were people there from Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island and from Westchester. It was well-attended. I don’t believe it fits in our agenda.   It perhaps serves some upstate village better than us, but here the local village is the most efficiently run organization in the area.

“Next is the ‘opt out’ agreement with the Town of North Hempstead from their tipping fee. In our workshop meeting we voted to opt out.   The Town of North Hempstead is charging $88 a ton. The Nassau County Village Officials, plus Mineola are talking to other organizations and to other village that have a $69 tip fee, which is a big savings. We can always opt back in, but not at $88. The Town of North Hempstead is renegotiating their offering to us and if we can save at least $10 or $20 a ton that’s what we are looking to do, because it’s your tax money.

“I want to thank the VFW for their services at village hall on Veterans Day.   It was very moving and thank you to those who attended and a special thanks to the veterans themselves.

Village Clerk Julie Kane said that the library has requested the use of the Assembly Room on the third floor of Williston Park Village Hall for an adult cooking class on Dec. 20 and on Jan. 9 and Jan. 18 for a children’s program. The requests were approved.    

Deputy Mayor             Ann Marie Smith

Deputy Mayor Ann Marie Smith publicly thanked Nassau County Legislator Rich Nicolello for obtaining a grant to erect a new fence around the Center Street basin.   It looks great.

She also reported that the Ragamuffin Parade was a huge success and she thanked the president of the County Seat Kiwanis Club for all her help in

helping to organize the event.   She also thanked the Williston Park Auxiliary Police, the fire department and members of the Third3rd Precinct for keeping all the marchers safe.

She also thanked an Eagle Scout in the village for painting yellow lines in front of the hydrants in the village.   She said, “I did not allow him to go on Willis Avenue or Hillside Avenue, as sit is too dangerous.   Wanted to wish him well.

Smith said, “Judge Reardon asked questions about the pool at the last meeting. He wanted to know how many salaried employees and how many people paid late fees. We  The late fee we had 98 memberships that paid a $40 late fee, which amounted to a $3,920,020 revenue to the village.”

Smith continued, “We have two salaried employees working here to register people and that entails they have to verify addresses, make passes and copy the application.   When we move to the pool, the college kids, who are all hourly workers,.  They helped out with maintenance and then they go back to the verification of the applications.:

The next report was on the parking committee which will meet on Nov. 30 for the last meeting of the year.   She said, “We have worked very diligently throughout the year to try to get signage throughout the village.   The Department of Transportation has allowed us to put up one-hour parking sign between Collins and Cushing, between Dunkin Doughnuts and Carvel.   So we will now have one-hour parking when we did not have that.   

 “I just want to ask everyone to please obey the signs throughout the village and to remember to push the button so that lights will change for safe crossing.”

She then announced that the Annual Tree Lighting will be held on Dec. 6 on the lawn of village hall and they are looking for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts to sing Christmas Carols with the Brass Band.   Then Santa and friends will arrive on the fire truck and distribute goodies.”

Trustee Smith also announced that Operation Santa would again be held on Dec. 24. Volunteers are needed. For further information and the number to call, please call the village hall at 746-2193 .She said, “We meet at village hall at about 5:30 p.m. and then at 6 p.m. everyone is on they way, She then said, “I want to wish everyone a very warm and happy Thanksgiving.”

Trustee Beth Swendsen-Dowd

The trustee said that trustee William Darmstadt was not present due to a death in his family and that trustee Dunn was not feeling well.

She said, “We continue to interact with the Department of Public Works on their contract. The water contract with the Village of East Williston is still outstanding.  DPW Superintendent Keith Burnell and I had the opportunity to meet with two representatives of East Williston. We had a very nice long meeting and we explained the improvements we are making with the wells and the repairs to the Williams Street water tank.

“However, the contract is still not signed and is outstanding.”

Building Inspector             Kerry Collins

Collins said, “From Oct. 21 to date, we have two residential permits, six residential plumbing permits, electrical licenses 16, food and drink licenses three, sign permits- one, and sidewalk sales permits one, sidewalk apron and curb replacement- one and HBHC permits coming to a total of   $5,300.   During that time, two Certificates of Occupancies were issued, three notices of violation and sixteen16 garbage summonses.

“Building permits were issued for 141 Cornwell Avenue for a front portico, 329 Houston for a roof-top solar panel system, which I think you will be seeing more of due to the cost of energy, these panels are now meeting codes, which they couldn’t for a while.”

Department of Public Works Superintendent Keith Burnell

Superintendent Burnell said, “Basically we have completed all the work at the Little League Field.   We put roofs over the dugouts and moved home plate a little, squared off lines and now it’s an official lLittle lLeague field.   The field is officially closed for the rest of the year.

“We are in the middle of leaf season and please don’t park in the streets as we have the leaf sweepers out every day and we will do that through Thanksgiving.“We’ve been working with Sheridan and we’re working on the water repairs. “Two employees and myself attended an upstate conference. This year the conference focused around work safety issues.   To this end we are trying to adopt a few of their safety suggestions into our operation.”

Attorney Richard Reers

Attorney Reers said, “Just wanted to apprise the board of a few hearings that are coming up.   On Dec. 7 the board   will hear a special exception hearing for a new Circular Technology which is a cell placement at 600 Willis Avenue, which is a workshop night. There will also be a continuation of a hearing for the proposed restaurant at 29 Hillside.   There has been some issues with the property applicant as well as the owner of the adjourning property. There is a new attorney that entered the case today and I have already spoken to him and I’m hoping this can be resolved quickly.

“On Dec. 21 we have a Special Exception hearing for a company which is basically a gymnastic   facility and they are hoping to go into 201 Hillside where Park Avenue intersects Hillside.

“On Jan. 18 we have scheduled a renewal of the franchise agreement.   We will say more about that in December.   That’s is all we have to report at this time.”

Williston Park Library        Director Donna McKenna

Donna McKenna gave a run down of what is planned at the library and all of those items may be seen in the WP Library column.

After, Mayor Odierna wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and then opened it up to the public.

Public Comments

Joseph Heery wanted to know what the cost of the pool was for this year. Village clerk Kane said she did not have those numbers available.   He then wanted to know if the water rates would be lowered because $300,000 had been paid off.   Mayor Odierna said no since the village was still paying off the bonds. Plus, we still have to bring up the service of other wells.   He then wanted to know if the figures for the pool would be available at the next meeting and he was assured that they would be.

Paul Ehrbar praised the work of the library and then wanted to know who was the judge on the zoning court and he was told it was Justice Alan Reardon.

A resident said, “What is the problem with East Willliston and water.   They evenither want it or they don’t .”

Mayor Odierna said, “What has happened is that the health department wants them to sign a contract with the supplier and we are the supplier.   We sent a water contract to them and they held it for six months and then came back with a multiple of changes that were not favorable to our people.”

Swenson-Dowd said, “East Williston may say we don’t want to buy water from Williston Park and if that’s the case we would have to find someone else to buy our water.”

Another resident wanted to know why summonses can be given for leaving out the garbage.

Julie Kane is now in charge of code enforcement and she asked if, even on the weekend, message could be left on her phone so that she could let the code enforcers know very early on Monday morning.

Ray Cross said that in January and February village attorney’s fees were $8,800.   When there were objections made from the audience about those fees the fees went down. Now, they are back up.

Mayor Odierna said, “I was on the board when we had other attorneys and they did not produce as much.   Mr. Reers is giving us a documented paper stating all the times he has worked and we pay him according to the time he has worked.   I can show you that. If you FOIL that I have no problem with that.   I feel when an individual does work he should be paid.  We have so much to do here.   There are people who resent him making this money, but wahy.   We have to stop and reflect on how much money he has brought into the village.   I am very satisfied with the work he is doing. He is bringing in money from the courts. Other attorneys that we have had have just taken their fee and moved on. That has been my experience and I sat on the board as a trustee for six years,”

Cross asked, “And the other board members are on the same page.?”

Swendsen-Dowd answered his question by saying, “I think sometimes that I go over the bills and I think to myself, gee, I didn’t know this was going on.   I see a lot of meetings with the mayor.   I have to believe the mayor and when he says to me I have to speak to the attorney I know we will be charged for that.    Quite often I say to myself maybe I can figure this out myself and I won’t have to call the attorney.   The other trustees and myself do not go into the work session and give everything a rubber stamp because we don’t.”

Cross said, “When I was on the village board, and I worked with two mayors, the mayor went to the village clerk. The mayor didn’t go to the attorney.”    

Odierna said, “That was their perrogrotive. The village clerk has more work to do. We have done a lot of work in this village and to resent that I talk to the attorney because we are in the same office is the height of folly because we are working for you.    The people have to realize we are working for you.   One is to look at this document and then to come and talk to us about and you will get the truth from us because we have nothing to hide and I thank you for that.”

Deputy Mayor Smith said that very often a resident would rather speak to the attorney than the trustees so they call the attorney directly and we will get billed for that call.   

Erhbar said, “I disagree with that entirely.   Don’t tell the residents not to call, tell the attorney . Rather they should call the village clerk and then she and the mayor will decide if it’s a matter for the attorney.

Judge Alan Reardon said, “I’d like to thank the village for telling me where my pipes are., coming to my house.   Just remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “All a lawyer has to sell is his time and we went to school a long time to learn how to do this.”   

“Apparently, East Williston is under the gun with, health department for not having a contract and the county should be getting on them, but nothing is happening on the county level.   They have to get back to us.  When I was a trustee for 12 years they threatened every year they were not going to sign the water contract.   Where are they going to go. It will cost them a fortune to move.

Reardon continued,   “I have”   a question for you on the zoning case, wereho did your bill for that?   Reers said yes and Reardon said, “We have a village prosecutor that comes in and does it for $50 a Reers said, “The reason we are doing those so that when they come to court that someone will have all the facts on those cases.”

Reardon said, “I think we don’t’ have to worry about Emanuel, he’s a very bright guy. And, don’t complain about prior attorney’s, they were great and you could always get answer from them.”

This discussion went back and forth and the board finally adjourned its meeting and announced that the next meeting will be held on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. oin village hall.