The NCVOA supported the Village of Freeport in its effort to secure a new site for its public works department. The following editorial was sent to Newsday in 2015:
Communication and Cooperation Among Levels of Government is Key
Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” As public servants, we understand the importance and value of working collaboratively with our village, town, county and state colleagues to best serve our residents.
On rare occasions, a disconnect materializes between the village and another level of government that can severely impact the village and its residents. Such is the case with the Village of Freeport and the Freeport Armory.
The severe flooding resulting from Super Storm Sandy destroyed Freeport’s Albany Avenue Department of Public Works facility, which is located in a flood zone in South Freeport. The repairs at the facility exceeded$5 million and did not begin to address efforts toward remediating future flooding. Mayor Robert Kennedy and the village board devised a common sense solution that would benefit the village and its residents. They wanted to relocate the public works department to the site of the closed and abandoned Freeport Armory, which is north of Sunrise Highway and out of the flood zone. Transferring the Armory to the village would save the tax payers millions of dollars in construction costs associated with building a new complex at its current below grade facility on the water. Not to mention, there would be the added benefit to public safety with the placement of a police satellite headquarters in North Freeport.
Furthermore, with the relocation of Freeport’s Department of Public Works, the village would be able to sell its DPW facility to a developer. This would bring much needed economic development and jobs to Freeport.
It sounds like a no-brainer. But Assemblywoman Earlene Hooper has other plans. She would like to see the Armory donated to a nonprofit church. While her intention is well-meaning, it should have been discussed with the current administration before being moved forward. The result of this transaction would be detrimental to the village as it would keep the property tax-exempt and leave the public works facility vulnerable to future flooding.
This disconnect between the two levels of government should not have occurred. This transaction has huge implications for the Village of Freeport and its residents. That is why communication and cooperation is critical. With so much at stake, the village should be leading this endeavor. Freeport should be able to have a safe and secure department of public works, an additional police presence, and the ability to develop its economic and tax base.