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 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 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 and to practice social distancing.
COVID’S EFFECTS ON VILLAGE FINANCES
At the Sept. 17, 2020 Board meeting, Village Treasurer Irene Woo presented a financial summary of Fiscal Year 2019-20 and the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2020-21.
General Fund – Garden City closed out Fiscal Year 2019-20 with $60.8 million in revenues, out of an approximate $65 million budget.
- ($4.1m): Deferred revenues are from reimbursable capital projects like the business district paving project that hasn’t begun yet and the ongoing Nassau Boulevard train station parking lot brick work; Building Department permit fees relating to the 555 Stewart Avenue project
- ($0.7m): Estimated loss due to COVID-19 from cancellation of programs/closure of Village facilities; less court fees; less Public Works services
- ($0.6m): Favorable variances due to unanticipated state aid, forfeiture of deposits, premium on securities, etc.
- Tennis Fund: Budgeted loss of $104,000 impacted by closure of Village and cancellation of spring programs
- Water Fund: Revenue loss of $483,000 due to a three percent reduction in consumption versus last year. This was slightly offset by a five percent water rate increase that went into effect June 1, 2019.
General Fund – The Village’s expenditures were $60.6m versus planned budget of $67m.
- ($2.3m): Overall favorable variances within Departments due to lower salaries, benefits and taxes as a result of open or unfilled positions, less part-timers hired, less overtime incurred, etc.
- ($0.8m): Lower expenditures due to cancellation of programs/closure of Village facilities
- ($2.0m): Judgments and claims
- ($0.4m): Legal fees
- Lower overall expenses in the pool and tennis funds are due to COVID-19
- Water fund expenses are also lower due to open positions
- The $97,000 decrease in overtime, year over year, is mostly due to COVID-19 (closure of Village facilities, cancellation of programs and events, including charity runs and parades)
2020-21 FIRST QUARTER REVENUES
- In the Building Department $1.9m in unbudgeted permit fees for the building formerly occupied by Sears will help offset some of the losses due to COVID
- Police/Court and Recreation: Combined $400,000 loss in revenue due to COVID-related closures and cancellations, as well as less tickets written by Garden City Police
- Pool: Revenues include the budgeted transfer from the General Fund ($300,000). Lower revenues are the result of COVID-19 (delayed opening, attendance restrictions, reduced rates, less memberships, etc.). Pool revenue totaled $354,000 for an anticipated budget of $1.3 million. The Pool incurred a loss in revenue for the 2020 summer of nearly $1 million
- Tennis: Budgeted loss for the first quarter estimated at $65,000, impacted by the closure of the facility. The facility reopened the week of July 12. Programs are starting up again this week
- Water: The Water Fund is on target with budget
2020-21 FIRST QUARTER EXPENDITURES
- COVID: Since the pandemic began, the Village has incurred an estimated $350,000 in COVID-related expenses (i.e. cleaning materials, etc.)
- Village continues working with FEMA, and the Town of Hempstead to seek reimbursement through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. The $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020 in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Village has already submitted $40,000 to FEMA, of which we expect 75 percent to be reimbursed. We provided an application to the Town of Hempstead with an estimate of $365,000, which, if approved, is expected to reimburse 100 percent
- Tropical Storm Isaias: Unexpected expenditures from Tropical Storm Isaias total approximately $1.4 million due to tree removal, stump grinding and removal, miscellaneous debris removal, curb and sidewalk repairs and overtime
- Village is also working with FEMA for reimbursement of expenditures
- It is unknown when the Village will receive the reimbursements. In order to cover these unanticipated expenditures, Ms. Woo advised the Board that funds are being transferred from year to date expense savings due to open positions and unfilled part-time positions, as well as through contingency funding
- Lower overall expenses in the Pool and Tennis funds due to COVID-19
- Tropical Storm Isaias: Village incurred approximately $104,000
- Outdoor Dining: Village has incurred approximately $40,000
BOLLARDS ON SEVENTH STREET
Bollards are being installed this week at the northwest and southwest corners of Franklin Avenue and Seventh Street, in front of Leo’s and The French Workshop, to enhance pedestrian safety.
Public Works Superintendent Joseph DiFrancisco gave a presentation on Seventh Street safety during the Feb. 6, 2020 Board meeting. At the request of the Board, Mr. DiFrancisco offered recommendations to improve safety for residents and visitors who frequent Seventh Street. Some areas of concern that were addressed included the corners of Seventh Street and Franklin Avenue, crosswalk safety as well as other areas that feature outdoor dining. A meeting was held with members of the Police, Engineering, Street and Public Works Departments to study the current layout, determine vulnerabilities and come up with solutions.
It was determined that several areas needed protection. Mr. DiFrancisco proposed the placement of six bollards near Leo’s and six bollards near The French Workshop. Additional proposed areas for bollards include the entrance to Field 7S by Natural Market and the entrance to Field 7S from Hilton Avenue. Mr. DiFrancisco noted final locations of bollards would not be determined until the areas are marked out for utilities.
FIRE SERVICE MUTUAL AID PLAN
The Board of Trustees accepted the Nassau County Fire Service Mutual Aid Plan, which provides assistance and protection for all communities within the county in the cases of fire and other emergencies in which the services of equipment and firefighters would be used. “This plan formalizes what has been in existence for many years. Present operations are not affected,” Chief Thomas Strysko said. Currently, Garden City Volunteer Firefighters are called upon for mutual aid to surrounding areas, and when needed mutual aid resources are requested into the Village to assist at larger scale incidents. This also includes surrounding areas including New York City, Suffolk and Westchester Counties. Chief Strysko said the importance of mutual aid was exhibited at the Sept. 5 house fire on Hilton Avenue in which 15 departments provided mutual aid to Garden City Firefighters. Mutual aid partners who assisted at the scene or provided standby coverage in the event of additional alarms in Garden City, included Bellerose Terrace, Floral Park, Garden City Park, Mineola, New Hyde Park, Stewart Manor, Mineola Volunteer Ambulance, Carle Place, Westbury, Williston Park, Elmont, Franklin Square, Hempstead, Uniondale and West Hempstead Fire Departments.
OUTDOOR DINING PROGRAM EXTENDED
The Board of Trustees extended the Outdoor Dining Program on Seventh Street through Dec. 31, 2020. As of this week, at the request of the Chamber of Commerce, Seventh Street will only be closed Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – not Sundays. The Village and Chamber kicked off the program, “Summer in the Streets,” back in June. Seventh Street will continue to be closed to pedestrians only for outdoor dining between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m.
PICK UP YOUR PROPERTY FOLDERS
If you requested your original property folder from the Building Department, please pick it up at the Building Department as soon as possible. According to Superintendent Giuseppe Giovanniello, there is no space in the garages to store them. If residents do not pick up their request it will be discarded. To date, more than 4,000 folders have been returned to residents. Unless extended by the Board of Trustees, the deadline for Village residents to request their property folders is Dec. 31, 2020. After that date, only copies made from the scanned electronic copies will be available. Residents may request “original hard copy” property folders of records maintained by the Department.
Please note that this is the only “original” hard copy that the Village maintains, and (for Village record-keeping purposes) is being completely replaced by an electronic “scanned” copy. While the Department has made every effort to make its newly scanned electronic copies as clear and “readable” as the originals, we recognize there are some documents (amongst the thousands already scanned) that may be more easily read in “hard copy original” form. As a courtesy, the Village is offering your original hard copy to you as the current homeowner. If you wish to have the “original file” you must show proof of ownership of the property requested. The Department will notify you when your request is ready for pickup. Folder requests will be held for 30 days after a call back is made. This “folder request project” commenced June 1, 2019. For further information, please contact the Building Department at 465-4040.
The Board of Trustees entered into an agreement with Northwell Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine of New York on an as-needed basis for an initial period of two years, subject to the agreement review as to form by Village Counsel, for professional services for Village employees and volunteer personnel of the Garden City Fire Department. The agreement also includes medical examinations to certify employees are medically capable of safely performing essential job tasks and return to work. The terms are Nov. 1, 2020 through Oct. 31, 2022.
The Human Resources Department went through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process that began with the preparation of a document that included an explanation of the objectives of the RFP, service categories and a vendor questionnaire. The Village of Garden City, which is seeking a partnership with a medical services provider to enhance the health and safety of workers and lower overall healthcare costs, conducted an evaluation of medical service providers for experiences in a field of study that focuses on identifying and controlling the risks arising from physical, chemical and other workplace hazards with the goal of establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. The questionnaire included 34 questions related to contractual requirements; the organization’s background and history; and fees and expenses. The responses received were compiled into a comparative analysis. Based on the analysis, and review of the respondent’s submissions, Courtney Rosenblatt, secretary to the Board of Trustees, recommended Trustees engage Northwell Health Occupational and Environmental Medicine of New York.
FORFEITURE OF ASSETS
Under New York State civil practice law, certain funds received from forfeiture of assets, as a result of significant arrests and investigations, are restricted to fund unbudgeted police expenditures. At the close of Fiscal Year 2019-20, the Village had $51,643.77 held in Reserve. According to Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, these funds are used to purchase products that will enhance criminal investigations, police response, and evidence management; i.e. portable license plate readers, evidence software and tasers. This program has proven to be beneficial to the Police Department with the purchases of a fingerprint machine, portable surveillance equipment, firearms, active shooter protective gear, cell phone tracking software, and illegal drug recognition and tracking software.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
Trustees will meet on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. in St. Paul’s Cluett Hall for a regular Board meeting. The room will be set up to comply with social distancing rules. Those who wish to attend must wear face masks.
-Submitted by The Village of Garden City