FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE
On Friday, March 24th the Town of Hempstead, along with the villages of Garden City, New Hyde Park and Floral Park, will host a press conference beginning at Noon in front of New Hyde Park Village Hall on Jericho Turnpike and New Hyde Park Road. The purpose of the event is to make very clear to the Long Island Rail Road and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that we expect answers to the questions raised in the Vertex review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement “DEIS.”
Very serious environmental, quality of life, financial and construction issues were raised in this very thorough and professional report. For example, why aren’t the archaic switch-and-signal systems east and west of the Jamaica Station being repaired or replaced before any third track is even considered? The LIRR president himself stated this is where the majority of the service problems occur. The Main Line villages will bear the brunt of the construction disruption, yet as of now all we are getting is one new rush hour train westbound and one eastbound.
At present the plan is to solely use New York State funds for this project instead of asking for federal aid. The Vertex report points out that the federal environmental regulations are much stricter than New York State's and perhaps that is why the entire projected $2 billion cost will have to be borne by taxpayers. Please note that it was projected to be $1 billion in May 2016. The LIRR has had six fare increases since 2008. Who knows what the fares will be if this project goes forward. The Governor's spokespeople tout the elimination of grade crossings and the improvements to stations that are included in this project. These worthwhile improvements can all be done without a third track.
The villages and the Town of Hempstead have spent over $100,000 of taxpayer money for the Vertex report and the fees of expert environmental counsel. We are entitled to answers before any final Environmental Impact Study is issued. Finally, please do not listen to those who say this is a “done deal.” No money has been allocated in the MTA Capital Plan as of yet. Our elected State legislators have stated that a control board of four people must unanimously approve any changes to the MTA Capital Plan. The MTA Capital Plan Approval Board consists of one person from the NYS Assembly, one from the NYS Senate, one appointed by the Mayor of New York City and one appointed by the Governor. The third track money was not in the MTA budget approved in May 2016. The Governor's people now say that they will not ask the board for approval until the summer. For more facts and a summary of the Vertex report please visit www.gardencityny.net and click on the “LIRR 3rd Track Information” tab.
I doubt there has ever been an issue that will affect our quality of life and property values as much as this third track. Please come to the press conference on March 24th in New Hyde Park and bring all the friends and neighbors you can. The MTA/LIRR must know that we deserve to have answers.
Great turnout for Village Tour
I’d like to thank everyone who helped organize Saturday’s tour of Village facilities. We had a great turnout despite the weather and it was a unique opportunity for residents to not only see our facilities but to learn how much it takes to keep Garden City running efficiently.
Thank you to Village Administrator Ralph Suozzi, Village Clerk Karen Altman, Department of Public Works Superintendent Joe DiFrancisco, Recreation Chairman Kevin Ocker and Trustees John Delany and Theresa Trouvé for attending. It was nice to also see retired Village Administrator Robert Schoelle and Village Historian Bill Bellmer.
I’d like to also thank the 40 residents who took the tour, which made stops at the Village Yard, Cluett Hall and the Field House, Community Park, water wells 13 and 14 and the water tower on Old Country Road before heading back to the senior center.
Village Seeks Volunteers
The Village depends upon its residents to function and perform many valuable services. We have several openings with respect to Boards and Commissions that we need your help filling.
The four Property Owners’ Associations help us identify candidates and positions are allocated among residents from the four sections of the Village, with additional positions at large. If interested, contact your POA officials and submit a resume. Deadline for submission is Friday, March 17, 2017.
Village Election Tuesday, March 21
The annual Village Election will be held on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 12 Noon until 9:00 p.m. at Village Hall, 351 Stewart Avenue. Registered Village residents will be voting for the following candidates:
• Mayor - 2 Years - Brian C. Daughney
• Trustee - 2 Years - Mark A. Hyer
• Trustee - 2 Years - Stephen S. Makrinos
• Trustee - 2 Years - Louis M. Minuto
• Trustee - 1 Year - John A. DeMaro
• Village Justice - 4 Years - Allen S. Mathers
Absentee Ballot applications to be used in conjunction with the General Village Election on March 21, 2017 are available at Village Hall, 351 Stewart Avenue. The Village Clerk had to receive applications by March 14th if the ballot was mailed. For personal application, the deadline is March 20th.
Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule
The organizational meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Monday, April 3, 2017, beginning at 8:00 p.m. I encourage all residents to attend Board of Trustees meetings so as to be thoroughly informed of Village issues from a first-hand perspective.