About three weeks after MTA Long Island Bus instituted cuts to its Able-Ride services, elected officials and private individuals have teamed up to make the most of a bad situation that has left disabled people throughout Nassau County at a loss.
On May 27, after over a month in litigation brought by disability advocates, a judge for the Federal U.S. District Court ruled that the MTA could go ahead with making cuts to its Able-Ride program as planned since March.
At a recent press conference held at Nassau University Medical Center, the president and CEO of the NuHealth System, Arthur A. Gianelli, was all smiles. He was pleased to announce the 2009 fiscal year numbers had been tallied and crunched to show a surplus of $804,000, marking the first time NuHealth has been able to report positive operating cost outcomes in its 10-year history. The financial data was compiled and received by Ernst & Young, the independently certified public accounting firm used by the organization.
For the formerly named Nassau Health Care Corporation, which runs NUMC, the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and several outlying clinics, the news has been a well-received change of pace. Gianelli emphasized it is important for people to recognize what got the organization to this point, and although future challenges might not always afford breaking into the black in subsequent years, this accomplishment was no small feat.
It was a bittersweet moment on June 6 as the ribbon was cut to dedicate a new guardrail on Wantagh State Parkway. The guardrail will hopefully save lives but the family of Matthew Scarpati won’t forget that their son and brother was killed there before the guardrail was put in place.
A night of great food, stunning jewelry, and most importantly a night of awareness describes the fundraiser that Allison Elizabeth Designs held on June 3 at Mumon Restaurant in Garden City, benefiting the ELIJA School for Autism in Levittown.
The Levittown School District’s Board of Education has adopted a revised budget to put forth to voters after the first proposed budget failed by 23 votes on May 18.
At a meeting on Wednesday, May 26, six of the seven board members voted in favor of presenting to the voters a budget that is a 5.73 percent increase over the 2009/10 budget. The failed budget proposed a 6.12 percent increase over this year’s budget. The estimated tax levy increase is 2.63 percent, compared to the 3.81 percent increase proposed by the budget that failed.
Trustee James Ward voted against the budget, saying he would have liked to see a budget that is $3 or $4 million less than what the board approved.
“We shouldn’t have looked at the [failed] budget and taken money out,” Ward told the Levittown Tribune. “We should have taken the current budget and increased it.”
As of last Wednesday, May 27, users of MTA Long Island Bus Able-Ride program will have to call the service’s hotline to determine if they are still eligible for service.
A Federal U.S. District Court judge hearing lawsuit arguments against the MTA ruled last week that the transportation authority was allowed to institute the cuts that had been delayed since April.
“The judge dismissed the case, saying the regulation didn’t apply,” said Robert Shonefeld, an attorney for the plaintiffs. He had argued that an ADA regulation required the MTA to seek public participation, consult with and seek comment from people with disabilities about the proposed cuts when they were in the discussion phase. The judge ruled against the plaintiffs and the MTA was allowed to institute their cuts.
Dozens of disabled people arrived at Nassau University Medical Center in vans, wheelchair accessible buses and in Able-Ride vehicles, the subject of the very meeting they were there to attend. Their attorneys, advocates and elected officials came in cars; they don’t need handicapped vehicles to get around.
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs organized the hearing, along with legislators Kevan Abrahams, Judi Bosworth, David Denenberg and Denise Ford at NUMC on Wednesday, May 19, giving disabled residents of Nassau County a venue to vent their frustrations and offer alternatives to cutting the MTA’s Able-Ride service.
If there is a fire, do you first put out the flames or try to find their source? Most agree in Nassau County that the current system by which property taxes are assessed and grieved is a crisis of “fire” proportions – with a quarter of a billion in taxpayer dollars wasted each year and well over $1 billion in existing debt - but officials and interest groups have begun arguing heatedly over how to fight it before the whole county goes down in the blaze.
On May 18, the Levittown School District budget that called for a 3.81 percent tax levy increase failed by 23 votes.
The failed 2010/11 budget of $193,543,816 was a 6.12 percent increase over the 2009/10 budget of $182,382,412.
With 3,227 votes for the budget and 3,250 votes against it, the school district has decided to re-count the votes. A school district official said Wednesday morning that the voting machines were sealed and sent to the Board of Elections for a re-count. It is estimated to take a few days for the re-count results to come in.
Voters in the Island Trees School District passed the proposed budget that called for a 3.5 percent tax levy increase. The passed budget of $57,020,084 was a 1.2 percent, increase from last year’s budget of $56,319,991.
The budget received 942 yes votes and 574 no votes, according to the school district’s clerk.
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