Standing At The Crossroads Of History

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The Village of Garden City is in such a state of flux that it wound up being the theme of Mayor Brian Daughney’s speech at the January luncheon hosted by the Garden City Chamber of Commerce. Held in the Garden City Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, the event’s centerpiece was Daughney’s state of the village address. A former trustee who served on behalf of the Estates Property Owners Association (POA) since May 2017, Daughney is going into his second year as mayor, having succeeded Nicholas Episcopia in March of last year. In the 10 months since taking office, he has helped spearhead a number of infrastructure initiatives while being adamant about the teamwork needed to bring these projects to fruition.
“I’m a believer in doing things right. You do things for the next 30, 40 or 50 years. You don’t do things that involve passing on the buck or doing a crappy job on something [with the notion that] in four years, we’ll leave it for someone else. I don’t believe in that,” he said. “We’ve done a pretty good job. Could we have done more? Sure. But I think overall, people are happy with the end product.”
Daughney touched on a number of projects that have either been completed or are in the process. Among them were the completed renovations of Cluett Hall and a number of fieldhouses at St. Paul’s, upgraded ballfields around the village and improvements made to a number of buildings at the pool center, some of which are around 60 years old. Other ongoing projects mentioned were an upgrading of software within the building department to allow for electronic filing of permits and blueprints online, the pursuit of getting speed cameras installed throughout Garden City, entering into a service agreement with a third party to provide ambulance service to the village and the replacement of an aging water meter system. A particular upside pointed out for the completion of all these initiatives was not only streamlining certain processes, but also saving money for the municipality, particularly in the case of the water meters.
“We’ve replaced 99 percent of the water meters in our village. Why did we do that? I know people don’t want higher water bills. But we weren’t processing, collecting and recording what people were using. Some of the water meters that were 80 years old weren’t even working. These are the things you have to do,” Daughney explained. “Is it sexy? No. Necessary? Of course it is. Knowing that my water bill is only recording 10 percent of my water usage and my neighbors and everyone else is paying 90 percent—that’s not right. These are things that are not sexy, but they have to be done.”
The mayor also touched on a couple of milestone anniversaries that will be reached in 2019, one of which includes the creation of the Village of Garden City. And while planning is in the early stages, Daughney made a point of asking for help and input towards recognizing these historic dates next year.
“In 2019, we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the original purchase of land by A.T. Stewart. We’ll also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the community agreement, which tied the three sections of the village into Garden City,” he said. “We would love to have the Chamber’s help in planning and celebrating.”

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In addition to being editor of Garden City Life and Syosset-Jericho Tribune, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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