We Need Public Safety in Village Hall.
Long Island Lobby Day a Huge Success!
An interesting discussion came up at Tuesday's Monthly Village Meeting. There was talk of buying yet another building and placing the Public Safety Department on Neighborhood Road in the old “taxi stand.”
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor proposed spending $85,000.00 to purchase the “taxi stand” property next to Mercedes Meat Market. Trustee Summa and I made the point that our finance department should do a cost benefit analysis before rushing forward with this purchase.
Without crunching the numbers it is impossible to determine whether purchasing this additional building is necessary at all. We must establish how much it will cost to run a new server and computer system, telephones, electric, heat, AC, insurance and all the other foreseen costs for maintaining yet another municipal property.
I also suggested that we seek input from the Mastic Beach Chamber of Commerce to see what they felt about yet another commercial property that could help downtown revitalization being taken off the table.
I think it would be a waste of taxpayer money to buy yet another building and we should keep Public Safety in Village Hall.
There was a debate about how the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) could use the new building with Public Safety as a relief station. I do think it is a good idea for SCPD to have a relief station on Neighborhood Road in the business district, but I wanted more information before making a decision.
After the meeting I spoke with County Legislator Kate Browning who said, "Suffolk County Police Chief Burke supports the idea of having his officers take relief breaks on Neighborhood Road as opposed to the Mastic Beach Fire House."
I whole heartedly agree, but why can't they do that at Village Hall?
Legislator Browning said, “I don't feel it makes a difference if the officers took their relief breaks in Village Hall or across the street.”
Trying to push this purchase through without public input is just another case of fiscal mismanagement and a lack of transparency. There is no reason to buy yet another commercial building without the financial facts and without the public's input. It is just an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money and insulting to the people who elected us to represent them.
We already pay for a building,—that is underutilized—which can house Public Safety and give the SCPD a place for breaks. This would save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. Spending this money has no return on investment that I can see.
These dollars can be better spent maintaining and fixing our roads.
We support consolidating the Public Safety department because the current design has them spread out across all three village buildings; the supervisor is in the trailer, the dispatcher is in village hall, and the code officers are in the DPW building. I made the suggestion months ago that we should consolidate our departments. Public Safety should be in village hall, the building department should be in the trailer and DPW should remain at the DPW building instead of all over the place, but that suggestion as many others just fell on deaf ears.
Trustee Summa and I support the Mayor and Deputy Mayors initiative to consolidate our Public Safety Department but do not think that it requires another taxpayer funded building. We think we already have enough space in our existing buildings. Figuring out how to save the taxpayer money rather than wasting it, is what true “fiscal responsibility” looks like.
A few short hours after The William Floyd Summit's Meet the Candidates on Monday March 2nd at the Mastic Beach Fire House, I roused myself and got on the 4:30AM bus to Albany. To be the very first village official to travel to Albany on the express purpose of lobbying for Mastic Beach Village on Lobby Day.
I joined the Long Island Lobby Coalition as they completed their 7th visit to the state’s capital in 6 years. The coalition consists of over 75 organizations with nearly 40 groups attending including civic groups and public officials.
The Lobby Day Coalition, headed to Albany with an agenda tackling infrastructure projects for sewers, parking, transportation, small business, energy, human services and Sandy reconstruction.
I was honored to be part of such a diverse group representing Long Island who rallied around a unified message, "Long Island has 15% of the state population and should receive more than the 2% monies slated for us in this year’s NYS budget."
The numerous projects presented to State lawmakers are shovel ready and will improve the quality of life of our region, bring jobs, protect our environment and strengthen our communities.
Throughout the day, the Long Island Lobby Coalition held a press conference and participated in 3 scheduled meetings which with the Long Island Assembly delegation hosted by Assemblyman Phil Ramos, the Long Island Senate Delegation hosted by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and an with Governor Cuomo’s staff.
I was excited to have Senator Skelos pull me aside and wax poetic about his summers as a boy in Mastic Beach crabbing, snapper fishing and enjoying the same activities that make our village the treasure that it is today.
I was able to bend Senator Skelos' and Senator Tom Crocci’s ear about our need for sewers and lobbied for them to pass the Attorney General's “zombie” legislation to help rehabilitate our blighted and vacant homes and get them into the hands of homeowners.
I believe this face-to-face contact is exactly what is needed to get us funding. As Mayor, I will do all I can to bring attention to Mastic Beach Village and lobby for our community.
We have to lobby to get the funding necessary to get our community to the next level. I will be making these trips to Albany and Washington D.C. on regular basis to get the recognition and money that we need here in Mastic Beach.