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APRIL 2017 GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
Thursday, April 20, 2017- 6:30 PM
Westbury Manor, Westbury, NY
Eric Alexander- Director
Vision Long Island
Due to the forecast of a major snowstorm and the closing of Westbury Manor, we were forced to cancel our March General Membership meeting. We are fortunate our scheduled guest speaker, Vision Long Island Executive Director Eric Alexander, is available for our April 20 meeting. Eric is one of the foremost authorities on zoning, downtown revitalization and housing. We are pleased he will be joining us and sharing his views on Long Island’s future growth and development.
This is the first meeting following March elections so we will be introducing newly elected and re-elected mayors and trustees of our many villages.
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, April 20, 2017. Share the camaraderie of your colleagues, enjoy some great food and an interesting discussion on the important role village government plays now and in the future. Please email your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you
It’s Time to Stop the Rhetoric and Recognize the Value of Villages
In 1839, French critic and journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote, “The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”, which was translated to “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Nearly 178 years later, Jean-Baptiste’s reflection remains germane, particularly to the NCVOA’s 64 member villages and the 450,000 village residents we represent.
In late 1993, the NCVOA embarked on a mission to fight for fiscal equity for its villages and their residents. Under the direction of then President Harry Taubenfeld, the NCVOA called on then governor Mario Cuomo to restore the revenue sharing to local municipalities that had been drastically reduced under his administration.
Twenty-four years later, revenue sharing still has not been restored, unfunded mandates on local governments continue to soar, and now Governor Andrew Cuomo continues promoting his positions that there are too many levels of governments and that the number of villages must decrease.
Governor Cuomo held a February 15, 2017 news conference touting his latest proposals to force local governments to consolidate services in an effort to reduce taxes. The governor claims local governments, including villages, are contributors to high property taxes and there and should be an increased effort to consolidate services and reduce costs. .
For the past several decades, Nassau County’s 64 incorporated villages have been working together to share services and increase efficiencies. Villages have forged inter-municipal agreements with neighboring villages, towns, and Nassau County to share services, personnel, and equipment. For example, twenty years ago the North Shore villages of Kings Point, Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Saddle Rock, Thomaston, and sections of the Town of North Hempstead created a public water authority that purchased water works from a private operator. The South Shore villages of Lynbrook and Rockville Centre have been sharing garbage and public works equipment and services for the same length of time. And for decades the villages of Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville, Matinecock, Mill Neck and Cove Neck have had an inter-municipal agreement sharing the services of all the Brookville Police Departments.
These are just a few of the many examples why Nassau County villages continue to provide the most efficient and cost-effective services to their residents, despite the State’s ongoing efforts to increase unfunded mandates while reducing state aid.
Village governments are expected to keep tax increases under the 2% Tax Cap while the State of New York continues to ignore its obligation to provide appropriate fiscal aid to local municipalities. For more than 20 years. Nassau County’s 64 incorporated villages have seen State Aid plummet and for last nine years, it has remained the same. During the same period, escalating unfunded state mandates have unfairly shifted expenses for state initiatives to local governments and their residents.
To date, pleas for rectifying this longstanding inequity have fallen on deaf ears. The Executive branch refuses to acknowledge the vital role of local governments, despite independent studies qualifying the value. A December 2014 report presented by Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning, the Community and Regional Development Institute, and the Fiscal Policy Institute entitled State Austerity Policy & Creative Local Response, stated:
“Currently, most government functions in New York State are handled by municipalities and school districts rather than the state. Local governments (except NYC) can only raise property taxes and fees, and have been keeping their expenditures steady over the past 10 years when adjusted for inflation.
“State aid for counties and towns has dropped dramatically over the past 10
years, while aid to villages is flat.
To control property taxes, the state promised three policy changes. However, a lack of mandate relief meant localities had to make ends meet with cuts and higher taxes, hurting economic prospects.”
Long Island and the downstate region are particularly impacted by revenue sharing inequity as we receive a disproportionate amount. According to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at SUNY Albany, “New York City and the downstate suburbs give far more to Albany in revenues that they get in state-funded expenditures.” Downstate communities account for 27 % of the state’s total tax dollars, yet only 17 % is returned to our area.
This imbalance must be addressed, committing to sustained and equitable revenue sharing plus (AIM funding) as part of the solution.
From the Presidents Desk:
Dear Mayors, Trustees and Friends:
I know I echo the sentiments of most village officials when I say how relieved I am to see spring finally arrive. We were fortunate that this winter was not as brutal as forecast but we did have our moments. Fortunately, our local weather was relatively mild for our March 21st local village elections.
Residents Wield Power in Village Elections
We often describe village government as the “government closest to the people”. There is very little separation between residents and their village officials. Unlike national, state, county or town elections candidates for village office typically are not affiliated with major political parties. Rather, they consist of grass roots groups with names such as Citizens Party, Good Government Party, and Home Party. Since village officials and candidates have personal relationships with their fellow residents, contested elections often are tight contests and decided by residents making their decisions based on local issues impacting them and their families. This was particularly evident this recent election in the Village of Hempstead, where long-time Trustee Don Ryan defeated incumbent Wayne Hall, who had served for 12 years.
The March 21st elections produced a combination of most incumbents being re-elected as well as newly elected mayors and trustees. I would like to extend my congratulations to the following elected village officials:
Baxter Estates – Mayor Nora Haagenson was re-elected Mayor, Trustee Charles Comer and Trustee Chris Ficalora were re-elected
Bellerose – Incumbent Mayor Henry Schreiber was re-elected, Trustee Joseph Juliano was re-elected, Dan Driscoll was newly elected Trustee
Brookville-Mayor Daniel Serota was re-elected Mayor, Trustee Edward Chesnik and Trustee Robert Antonucci were re-elected
East Rockaway- Theresa Gaffney and Steve Fried were elected Trustees
Floral Park- Trustee Dom Longobardi was elected Mayor, Trustee Lynn Pombonyo was re-elected and Frank Chiara was elected Trustee
Flower Hill –Robert McNamara was elected Mayor, Trustee Jay Beber was re-elected and Kate Hirsch, Brian Herrington and Frank Genese were elected Trustees
Freeport –Mayor Robert Kennedy was re-elected and Trustee Carmen Pineyro and Trustee Ronald Ellerbe were re-elected
Great Neck Estates- William D. Warner DDS was elected Mayor and Jeffrey Farkas and Ira D. Garfield were elected Trustees
Great Neck Plaza- Trustee Jerry Schneiderman and Trustee Lawrence Katz were re-elected
Hempstead – Trustee Don Ryan was elected Mayor and Trustee La Mont Johnson was re-elected and Trustee Charles Renfroe was elected
Lynbrook- Trustee Hillary Becker and Trustee Michael Hawxhurst were re-elected \
Malverne-Trustee John O’Brien was re-elected and Perry Cuocci was elected Trustee
Massapequa Park – Trustee Daniel Pearl and Trustee Tina Schiaffino were re-elected
Munsey Park- Frank DeMento was elected Mayor, Trustee Patrick Hanse was re-elected and Lawrence Ceriello was elected Trustee
Plandome- Mayor Lloyd Williams was re-elected Mayor, Trustee Don Richardson was re-elected and Katie Saville was elected Trustee
Plandome Heights- Trustee Daniel Cataldo, Trustee Gus Panopoulas and Trustee Norman Taylor were re-elected
Plandome Manor- Mayor Barbara Donno was re-elected Mayor and Trustee Matthew Clinton and Trustee James Baydar were re-elected
Roslyn- Mayor John Durkin was re-elected Mayor and Trustee Marta Genovese and Trustee Sarah Oral were re-elected
Roslyn Heights- Paul Peters was elected Mayor and Brett Auerbach, Allan Mendels and Stephen Fox were elected Trustees
Russell Gardens- Mayor Steve Kirschner was re-elected Mayor and Trustee Martin Adickman and Trustee Jane Krakauer were re-elected
Sea Cliff- Ed Lieberman was elected Mayor, Trustee Dina Epstein was re-elected and Deb McDermott was newly elected Trustee
Stewart Manor- Michael Onorato was elected Mayor, Ken Malloy and Barbara Arciero were elected Trustees
Thomaston- Mayor Steven Weinberg was re-elected as Mayor, Trustee Jill S. Monoson was re-elected and Burton S. Weston was elected Trustee
Westbury –Mayor Peter Cavallaro was re-elected Mayor, Trustee Joan M. Boes and Trustee William B. Wise were re-elected.
If your village had an election but was not listed in our newsletter,please email us the names and email addresses of the newly elected officials and we will print them in our next edition.
Thanks for Your Service
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly recognize two mayors who have served on the NCVOA Executive Board. Garden City Mayor Nick Episcopia served one two-year term as mayor of Garden City and was on the Executive Board for the past two years and was a passionate advocate for his Village. Mayor Jerry Tangredi of Stewart Manor was also on the Executive Board for the past several years and decided not to run for re-election. I thank these outstanding public servants and wish them well as they enjoy some much deserved free time with their families.
Still AIMing High!
As I mentioned previously, the primary focus of my tenure as NCVOA President has been to increase in AIM funding. During the past several months, our campaign has been gaining momentum as we have garnered the support of the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, NYCOM, and the Association of Towns. We have reached a critical junction in advancing our cause and now need your assistance. We have been urging you to contact your state senator and assembly representative to secure their support for increasing AIM funding in the State’s 2017-2018 budget. As I complete my message, there still has not been an agreement on the state budget. I remain hopeful our state colleagues will consider increasing AIM for the benefit of all New York State villages.
April 20 Meeting to Feature Village Proponents
Our April General Membership Meeting will be held on a different date: Thursday, April 20th. Our program will feature Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island. Eric will address the challenges village governments will face in the upcoming years.
We also will welcome our newly elected village officials, so please make every effort to attend this meeting.
Yours in good government,
Mayor Bernie Ryba, President
Nominating Committee 2017- 2018:
In keeping with the By Laws of the NCVOA, President Ryba was to appoint the Nominating Committee for the 2017-2018 year at our March 2017 General Membership meeting. We all know at this point that Mother Nature intervened and the meeting was cancelled.
Had the meeting not been cancelled, President Ryba would have made the following appointments to the Nominating Committee:
Mayor Peter Cavallaro of Westbury- Chairman
Mayor David Tanner of East Williston
Mayor Jean Celender of Great Neck Plaza
Mayor Barbara Donno of Plandome Manor
Deputy Mayor Dennis Sgambati of North Hills
The NCVOA offices to vote upon at our June 29, 2017 General Membership Meeting will be:
1st Vice president
2nd Vice President
The term of office will be for one (1) year.
Any elected Mayor or Trustee, whose village is in good standing (currently all 64 villages are in good standing) are eligible to be elected to the above named offices. Interested officials should email a letter to the NCVOA Executive Director at email@example.com expressing their interest in being elected.
The Last Word:
“It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is to get up and take action.”
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