The first public meeting of the full PW Police District Building Committee occurred on Feb. 1. The civilian members of the committee were appointed in December.
At that meeting, Commissioner Duncan had requested that the civilian committee members tour the current facility. All the participants have completed at least one walk through. The consensus is that the department needs more space. Fred Blumlein in commenting on what he saw during his walk through said, “I felt that I was looking at an old fire truck. You wouldn’t dare use an outdated piece of equipment to fight a fire and protect the community. I use that analogy because what you are looking at is something here that is in desperate need of upgrading.” James Cowles added, “We are hiring these officers to protect us and then putting them in harm’s way because of outdated facilities.”
None of the committee members think it is feasible to provide the additional space that is needed in the current location because it would necessitate taking down the building and starting from scratch, requiring a temporary move to another space. The estimated cost of a project like this is $17 million without considering the two re-locations that temporarily vacating the current space would necessitate. All committee members agree this proposal is a non-starter. That leaves the committee looking at other sites. It is anticipated that the project in a new location would cost between $8 million and $10 million.
At the Jan. 24 Port Washington Board of Education meeting, BBS Architects & Engineers presented its proposal for fixing the roof at Weber Middle School. In addition, the architecture and engineering firm checked out other roofs at the schools within the district and presented proposals for fixing the roofs at Schreiber High School, Sousa Elementary School and Guggenheim Elementary School. To cover the costs of the roofs, the school board is looking towards a bond, which would be voted on by the Port Washington community.
At the beginning of the presentation, Roger Smith, principal architect at BBS, noted that they made a public presentation on fixing the roofs in 2003, but the district was not successful in obtaining funding since the bond was voted down by the community. He said that at this current time, the roofs have deteriorated even more. Throughout the presentation, Smith stated that for construction at schools, it is necessary to follow very specific building codes, some of which come from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the SED (State Education Department). One of the building codes includes a “fresh air” requirement, which deals with mechanical air circulation in the building, and BBS suggested fresh air upgrades at a few of the schools. BBS also suggested masonry reconstruction at some of the schools, since it is cracked and deteriorating in several areas.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman presented the 2012 State of Town at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links in Port Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The League of Women Voters, Port Washington/Manhasset Chapter, hosted this event as they have done for decades and about 170 people were in attendance.
LWV Vice President Amy Bass welcomed attendees, which included various elected officials from the villages, town, county, and state. She introduced Kaiman by stating that he has been town supervisor since 2004 and this was his ninth address.
At the start of his address, Kaiman provided some current figures on the Town of North Hempstead. He said that according to the 2010 census, the population of the Town of North Hempstead is 227,000, which is a slight increase from ten years earlier, and this makes North Hempstead the seventh largest municipality in the state.
Superintendent Dr. Geoffrey Gordon presented a preliminary budget at the Jan. 24 Port Washington Board of Education meeting. Due to the New York State tax levy cap, the school district needs to cut about $2.6 million from the budget in order to come in under the allowed growth of 2 percent.
“I think that the important thing for everyone to realize is this is a preliminary discussion and the board has asked the administration to present what the 2 percent tax levy cap implications would be,” said Dr. Gordon at the beginning of this presentation. In order to come in under the tax cap, this preliminary budget showed many potential cuts to staff, programs and supplies. As outlined in the presentation, Dr. Gordon explained that there are two options to prevent these cuts. One option is to override the tax cap law by obtaining a “super majority” in the budget vote, which would be 60 percent of people voting “yes” on a proposed budget increase of over 2 percent. He said that the other option would be to work with the school district’s bargaining units to gain concessions from existing contracts to reduce the tax levy below 2 percent without losing student programs and/or excessing staff.
N.Y.S. Governor Cuomo recently proposed his 2012-2013 Executive Budget & Reform Plan, with four main points of reform focusing on economic development, re-imagining government, mandate relief, and education. To create a dialogue with communities across the state, Governor Cuomo has been sending state representatives to various locations to speak on his behalf about the proposed budget and reform plan.
Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state’s Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Department, visited the Port Washington Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 19 to begin this conversation with local community leaders. This event was co-hosted by Nassau County Legislator Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn), Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, and the Port Washington Public Library.
In welcoming attendees to the first meeting for 2012 of Port Washington Voice (PWV), Laura Shabe began by explaining the genesis of the core group of approximately 10 people who have come together over the last few years to address issues of specific concern to residents living in the “downtown” area of Port Washington. Downtown usually refers to Main Street and the surrounding blocks. It is this group that reached out to the downtown community to form Port Washington Voice in response to the Model Blocks Proposal for upper Main Street.
The meeting on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Flower Hill Fire Company was intended as an opportunity for community residents to engage in a dialogue about the Model Blocks Project, which is supported in concept by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington (Residents), the Port Washington Business Improvement District (BID) and the Town of North Hempstead (TONH). PWV set aside the meeting to allow representatives of Residents to make a presentation to the people who live downtown. Among the attendees were representatives from Residents, Town Councilwoman Dina DeGiorgio, representatives of the police and fire departments, members of Port Washington Voice and Main Street business owners.
Believe it or not those craving the excitement and thrills of an off road driving adventure can approximate the experience by driving south on West Shore Road between Port Washington and Roslyn.
This stretch of Nassau County roadway approaching Fairway Drive has become a gauntlet, testing the skills and reflexes of drivers. Pity the unsuspecting traveler who finds himself bumping along challenging his car’s chassis and his own body. If you travel the road frequently you know what’s coming and have choices. Slow to a crawl keeping your auto whole but still risking “throwing your back out,” or swing to the left to avoid the potholes. This second alternative can be life threatening. Even though you check your rear view mirror for traffic coming up on your left, you risk being hit by a car exceeding the speed limit which just wasn’t there a second ago. This stretch of road is a serious accident just waiting to happen.
In order to come in under the 2 percent state tax cap, the Port Washington Board of Education will have to cut $2.6 million from the 2012-2013 budget. The board faces difficult decisions, and in order to be fully informed on the entire workings of the school district, presentations have been given at each meeting. The Jan. 10 meeting featured presentations on the elementary schools and Weber Middle School, where principals provided detailed information to the board on their programs and general structure. After the presentation, the school board asked follow-up questions to gain more insight on specific issues.
The board first commented on the Weber Middle School presentation.
School Board Member Larry Greenstein said that accelerated courses in math and science are working well for the students, and it was noted that enrollment in accelerated earth science is up over 100 percent from previous years. Greenstein asked Principal Marilyn Rodahan whether options for accelerated English and social studies could be expanded and School Board Vice President William Hohauser also asked if she would be in favor of enrichment in English. Rodahan stated she has observed every English class and that with each project and assignment, there is always the ability to go above and beyond. She said, “We also have cocurricular activities where students who have a natural gift or a desire to do more writing and students are involved in many writing contests.” Rodahan went on to explain that the jury would be out for her on enrichment in English, and she would need to see more research on schools where it has been done successfully.
The trustees of the Village of Port Washington North approved the proposed contract from the Port Washington Fire Department for service during the calendar year 2012. Historically the presentation of the new contract has occurred during the December meeting. However, in December the department asked that the public hearing for the contract be postponed and re-scheduled for January.
During the public hearing, the trustees asked several questions regarding service and costs. Representatives of the fire district responded that service levels remain the same and the cost increase to the village is .095 per cent. The actual cost for the contracted services for 2012 is $368,368.
During a ceremony immediately following the Dec. 30 meeting of the Port Washington Police District Board of Commissioners, James B. Duncan was sworn in to serve his sixth term as a commissioner. The ceremony was conducted by former police commissioners Salvatore Zimbardi and Frank Scobbo. Commissioner Duncan was re-elected on Dec. 13 after a campaign in which he was challenged by first-time candidate Paul Falk and write-in candidate Thomas Rice.
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