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Hewlett Harbor Officials Discuss Override of Property Tax Cap

Mayor says law is about politics and consolidation.

The Board of Trustees is debating whether to override the property tax cap approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year, following the footsteps of neighboring villages who have already approved laws doing so.

Mayor Mark Weiss said the 2 percent tax cap is more about the governor’s desire for smaller governments and municipalities to consolidate.

“What this does is make raising taxes more dramatic,” he said. “It says, ‘okay local governments, if you can’t figure out a budget within this 2 percent cap, we want the onus on you going against this law.’”

The governor signed the bill last June, restricting villages and municipalities from raising property taxes higher than 2 percent. However, bodies are allowed to institute overrides, which help to battle costs such as an unforeseen accident or unfunded mandates. In the Five Towns, the villages of , Hewlett Bay Park and Woodsburgh have instituted overrides to the law.

“All these villages are worried that 2 percent is constricting,” said Village Attorney Charles Casolaro. But, he pointed out, “This would really affect villages much larger than ours.”

Weiss pointed out that the village board has already been focusing on efficiency and sharing services with other municipalities.

“We’ll have a microscope on us,” he said.

Casolaro will prepare a report for the board on what other villages are doing about the cap. The board may vote on an override at a future meeting.

Willow Pond

The trustees expressed great pride with the cleanup of , which had been filled with mud and dirt.

“This will go down as one of the most significant ways of how village government works,” said Weiss, who added that only one resident called to complain during the project.

The cleanup was a joint effort of the villages of Hewlett Harbor and Hewlett Bay Park, which worked with the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County. A filtration device will soon be installed at the pond and nearby roads will be repaved in the spring and summer.

Street Signs

After many months, Hewlett Harbor has placed an order for new street signs, but final decisions still need to be made about the size of the signs.

A company has been chosen to manufacture the signs, but the village needs to work out a contract with it on warranties and replacements.

Building Permits

Trustee Tom Cohen shared with the board the latest forms and computer system for the village’s building department, which hopes to keep track of each project’s permits and appeals.

The discussion turned into what should be done to keep construction projects within a decent time frame.

“We don’t want to be punitive, but we want the job to be finished,” Weiss said.

Trustee Kenneth Kornblau said he’s concerned about residents whose neighbors are working on their houses.

“To see a construction site, it’s terrible. That’s not what people signed up for in the village,” he said. “There should be some benchmark hurdles put in place.”

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