I would like to thank all the Mayors and Trustees for electing me NCVOA President for 2016-2017. It is an honor and a privilege to be recognized as our Association’s President. Along with First Vice President Bob Kennedy, Second Vice President Elaine Phillips, Treasurer Ralph Ekstrand, and the entire Executive Committee I look forward to continuing the outstanding progress made this past year by Immediate Past President Barbara Donno in advancing the NCVOA agenda locally and in Albany.
The NCVOA is comprised of 64 incorporated villages representing 450,000 residents. As a group, we have been and will continue to be an influential force in Nassau County and the State of New York. In the past few years alone, the NCVOA has been instrumental in spearheading several successful endeavors:
- Extending the useful life of lever voting machines, resulting in costs savings to our villages;
- Helping persuade New York State to fund up to $2 million for additional ballot scanners to avoid a potential shortage of scanning machines once lever machines were no longer permitted to be used;
- Working with NYCOM and New York City interests to lobby the State Senate and Assembly to sponsor and approve bills precluding the MTA’s ability to avoid local zoning laws relating to the use or construction of real property as provided in the most recent NY State budget;
- Representing member village interests in the proposed construction of the LIRR third rail in Nassau County by requesting the Governor extend the scoping/discussion period for this controversial project.
These initiatives were addressed through collaboration across traditional party lines for the benefit of our communities – something I think our Village mayors are exceptionally experienced at implementing.
Of course, none of these accomplishments would have been realized without the unwavering support we received from two key local legislators: State Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. When it comes to local government, nobody understands the intricacies better than Jack and Michelle. Unfortunately, we will be losing both key supporters as Michelle has decided not to seek re-election and Jack will give up his seat as he runs for Congress. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by this organization and we wish them well in their future endeavors.
Looking to the future, an increase in State aid to Villages is long overdue. AIM funding for the entire state has been frozen at $20 million for many years while aid to schools and other initiatives has increased exponentially by billions of dollars. It is my hope and goal that, by working with NYCOM, our local legislators and other municipal organizations that this inequity will be finally recognized and addressed in the upcoming budget cycle.
Your attendance, participation, and expressions of support at General Membership meetings are vital to continuing the viability and endurance of our organization. Please make every effort to attend our monthly meetings and respond to requests for action initiated by Executive Director Warren Tackenberg.
Over the past seven years as Mayor of Old Brookville, there have been many accomplishments that have been a source of great personal satisfaction. I look forward to the same sense of satisfaction as your President during the next year. Thank you and God bless.