Village of Garden City’s Mayor Report

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THE MAYOR’S UPDATE

Village Hall and the administrative offices are open for in-person inquiries and business, and all full-time staff has returned to the on-site workplace. Office hours are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visitors are required to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing of six feet and sign in to a Visitor’s Log outside of the office they are visiting. Furthermore, while multiple people can enter Village Hall, only one person will be admitted into each office space at a time and are asked to abide by employee instructions. Please don’t forget to wear a mask when you are out and about in society and follow social distancing too.

TROPICAL STORM ISAIAS

Tropical Storm Isaias pounded Long Island Tuesday, August 4, bringing with it heavy rain and high winds.

The Garden City Volunteer Fire Department responded to more than 41 alarms in a less than 16-hour period. The first alarm was received at 12:40 for wires burning in a tree on Osborne Road. Assistant Chief Pearn began responding and was notified by Nassau County Fire Communications that they had three additional alarms in the Village. During the course of the storm, members responded to multiple calls for wires down, trees down, trees down on structures, odors of natural gas as well as carbon monoxide alarms. With the influx of alarms throughout Nassau County, the Department began self-dispatching alarms from Fire Headquarters during the height of the storm, Chief Thomas Strysko said. Throughout the storm, Department members and apparatus were traversing the Village responding to calls for assistance. Special thanks to members of the Garden City Police Department and Garden City Public Works staff for doing their best to allow us clear passage during the storm,” Chief Strysko said.

According to Police Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, as a result of Tropical Storm Isaias, there were more than 220 reported incidents. Officers, Firefighters and DPW/Tree Department personnel responded to numerous reports of trees falling on houses, power lines, roads, fences, vehicles, and on the railroad tracks at the Cathedral Avenue crossing where train service was suspended on the Hempstead line. Several houses suffered severe damage, as did many vehicles.  In addition, units responded to numerous reports of house fires, alarms, tree fires, wires down, power line/transformer fires, power outages, traffic light malfunctions, damaged gas lines, auto accidents, property damage reports, medical aided reports and disabled autos.

Paul Blake, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Cultural and Recreational Affairs, said the Garden City Pool was spared and Village parks saw minimal damage. “We were pretty fortunate. No damage, couple of trees down, including one at Grove and one at Edgemere,” he said.

Public Works Superintendent Joseph DiFrancisco described the Village’s storm response as a “well-coordinated effort” by the Garden City Police, Fire, Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments. “Members of these Departments supported each other throughout the storm and after in order to clear roads and ensure the safety of the residents of this Village,” he said. “We ask that residents have patience as Village crews will be working extra hours in order to reopen roads and clear roadways and sidewalks. They have a tremendous amount of work ahead of them as the cleanup will continue into next week and they should be commended for their efforts and teamwork during this very damaging storm.”

To report a downed Village tree, please call Recreation and Parks at 465-4075/76/77. Stay connected by signing up for Village email alerts through an online portal on Garden City’s homepage. The link is located on the bottom right side of the website, www.gardencityny.net. Provide your name and a valid email address to immediately begin receiving non-emergency updates, including power outages, road closures and more.

To report a power outage or downed wire, call PSEG Long Island’s 24-hour Electric Service number: 800-490-0075 or use our web chat feature at www.psegliny.com. Download the new PSEG Long Island mobile app to report an outage and to receive information on restoration times, crew locations and more. To report and receive status updates via text, text OUT to PSEGLI (773454) or visit www.psegliny.com/outages.

COMMITTEE ON NEW YORK STATE POLICE REFORM

The Governor’s Executive Order No. 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, directs each local government entity with a police agency operating with police officers to perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures and practices, and develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures and practices for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities serviced, promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness and legitimacy and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.

Mayor Theresa Trouvé is forming a Committee to assist the Village in the development and implementation of this process. She is requesting that each Property Owners’ Association (POA) select a member to serve on this Committee. Committee meetings will begin in late September or early October. If interested in serving on this Committee, please send your resume to your POA president stating your reasons for wanting to be on the Committee and any pertinent qualifications.

POLICE DEPARTMENT TO OFFER ONLINE SERVICE

The Village has entered into an agreement with LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions, Inc. to provide auto accident reports to the public via an online service. The Police Department and/or Village will not incur any costs for this service. According to Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, the contract is being finalized, along with coordination and collection of records.

GREENRIDGE CIRCLE CLOSURE

Work is progressing on the New Hyde Park Grade Crossing Elimination Project. Construction crews are currently working to pour and form curbs at the Greenridge Circle at the end of Clinch Avenue in conjunction with the new underpass. In order to perform this work, access to Greenridge Circle is closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic until approximately Friday, August 7. This will allow for ADA access via a pedestrian overpass crossing over the new underpass on New Hyde Park Road. In the coming weeks, New Hyde Park Road will reopen in its new permanent condition. Visit www.LIRRExpansion.com for more information.

IDENTITY THEFT UPDATE: POLICE INVESTIGATING 19 CASES

The Garden City Police Department continues to investigate numerous cases of fraud during this coronavirus pandemic. Imposters are filing claims for unemployment benefits, using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. It has been determined that some scammers are using information from old data breaches of private or government agencies.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employer fraud can include certain actions to avoid tax liability or establishing a fictitious employer account to enable fraudulent claims against that account. Claimant fraud can include knowingly submitting false information; continuing to collect benefits when knowing oneself to be ineligible; not being able and available to work while certifying for benefits under state law; or intentionally not reporting wages or income while collecting full benefits. Additionally, identity theft may result in unemployment insurance fraud that is not the fault of the employer or the identity theft victim.

As of Aug. 1, the Police Department has investigated 19 cases of this fraudulent activity. Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, who noted that state and federal governments have taken additional steps to detect and flag these fraudulent claims, states claimants should never:

  • Post screenshots of their claim or their claim status on social media;
  • Provide their Social Security number or unemployment benefit claim number to people on social media who offer to help resolve their issues;
  • Agree to pay a private firm or individual to file for unemployment insurance benefits on their behalf (the Social Security Department does not charge a fee for filing a claim); or
  • File a claim in a crowded setting where someone may “shoulder surf” and steal your data by looking over your shoulder.

According to Commissioner Jackson the indications that someone has used your information to claim benefits include: receiving information in the mail from the Department of Labor about a claim you did not file, or your employer receiving notice of an unemployment claim filed in your name. All unemployment fraud should be reported since unemployment benefits are taxable income. If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including your Social Security number and date of birth. All victims should act promptly by following these steps that can help you protect your finances and your credit:

  • Contact your employer’s HR Department;
  • Contact the NYS Department of Labor by calling (888) 209-8124 or emailing https://www.labor.ny.gov/agencyinfo/report-fraud.shtm;
  • File a police report with the Police Department;
  • File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov;
  • Report the activity to the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Transunion), and place a fraud alert or credit freeze;
  • Keep notes for future reference.

If you get benefits you never applied for, report it to your state unemployment agency and ask for instructions. Do not respond to any calls, emails or text messages telling you to wire money, send cash or put money on gift cards. Government agencies will never tell you to repay money that way. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer.

The Garden City Police Department’s Detective Division continues to work with the United States Secret Service in the investigation of fraudulent unemployment applications.

PUBLIC HEARING AUGUST 13: PARKING IN FIELD 7N

There will be a public hearing on Thursday, August 13, at 8 p.m. via Zoom regarding a proposed Local Law restricting parking and charging permit fees in Parking Field 7N to persons residing at 67 Hilton Avenue.

The purpose of this Local Law is to permanently institute a previously enacted Pilot Program. The Pilot Program was instituted to address the use of Parking Field 7N, which was being utilized in a manner that inadequately served adjacent residents’ parking opportunities, and which also adversely impacted parking opportunities for visitors to adjacent commercial establishments in the Village’s primary commercial district.

The Pilot Program originally restricted 35 parking spots at the western end of Parking Field 7N to residents in the premises adjacent to such location, who obtained a license to park in the area from the Village Clerk, and has been reported to this Board as having improved the parking situation. This Local Law would authorize the Superintendent of Public Works to continue to maintain 49 parking spaces (or such other number as may be directed by the Board of Trustees by resolution) at the western end of the municipal parking field. The portion of such parking area wherein licenses are required shall continue to be marked and indicated by suitable signage.

Unless otherwise authorized by the Board of Trustees, no license shall be issued to any person who is not a resident in the premises adjacent to the western end of the parking field, which is the lot on the north side of Seventh Street, south of Stewart Avenue, on the easterly side of Hilton Avenue, and the westerly side of Franklin Avenue.

WESTERN NASSAU TRANSMISSION PROJECT

The Western Nassau Transmission Project consists of the construction, operation and maintenance of a proposed new 138 kilovolt underground transmission line primarily within the public roadway rights-of-way for a total distance of approximately seven miles between the East Garden City substation (located in Uniondale) and the Valley Stream substation (located in Lynbrook).

The project is expected to reinforce LIPA’s electric transmission system in the southwest Nassau area and ensure continued reliable service. The underground transmission line will be located wholly within the Town of Hempstead and will traverse the Villages of Garden City, Malverne and Lynbrook, and will be constructed primarily underground. The project is on schedule for a December 2020 completion. The two-week construction schedule in Garden City entails:

  • Beginning Monday, August 3, general construction preparation began at various locations along Stewart Avenue, including Village Hall, Butler Place and east of Clinton Road. Activities include test pitting for underground utilities, and vegetation management for the placement of Splice Vault Nos. 20, 21 and 22. All work is scheduled for daytime hours. Single lane closures on Stewart Avenue are possible during activities.
  • On Monday, August 3, crews began to muster equipment and materials at the corner of Ninth Street and Cherry Valley Avenue to complete Horizontal Directional Drill No. 4, the final HDD for the project. Drilling is continuous in order to minimize overall impacts to the residents of the area.
  • On Tuesday, August 4, crews were expected to install Splice Vault No. 20 in the Village Green area between the public parking lot driveways off Stewart Avenue at Village Hall.
  • On Wednesday, August 5, crews were expected to start splicing at Splice Vault No. 16, located on Rockaway Avenue just north of Third Street in the northbound lane. Generally, cable splicing involves crews, using a climate-controlled work trailer, working both in it and inside the splice vaults, splicing together the newly pulled electric cables. The work is continuous, but non-obtrusive. The work generally takes six days to complete.
  • On Monday, August 10, trenching will begin between Splice Vault No. 19 located on Hilton Avenue at the Wyndham East Condominium entrance, to Splice Vault No. 20, located on the Village Green area in front of Village Hall on Stewart Avenue (CVS Pharmacy parking lot area). The work is planned for daytime hours. Coordination with the Fire and Police Departments for emergency response will be employed. Crews will excavate the pavement, install conduits and use cementitious backfill to aid with restoration. Single lane closures on Hilton Avenue and westbound on Stewart Avenue are expected with this activity.

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