Recently, an editorial in a local publication, described your Village Mayor, Trustees and employees as waging an “assault on civic duty”. We mean to set the record straight:
• The basis for the charge is that an unnamed “woman in the Village clerk’s office” told a reporter to submit a FOIL request in order to obtain the names of persons running for office in the upcoming Village elections. We agree: a FOIL request isn’t appropriate for such information. We’ll do a better job responding to such routine requests.
• The editorial questions why people “who filed petitions can be required to confirm that they want to run”; the answer is: state law. The petitions are nominating petitions; the person nominated by the petition must, by state law, accept the nomination.
• The editorial lumps Munsey Park with other “North Shore villages” that exhibit “brazen disregard for norms”. This accusation is particularly unfair. The other Villages named in the editorial failed a 2016 test based on adherence to FOIL requirements, while Munsey Park passed that same test. While we can always do better at responding to FOIL requests, we think it was misleading of the editorial not to make it clear that Munsey Park passed the test.
• Not surprisingly, the editorial appears to equate good government with the speed with which government responds to information requests from the press. We prefer to judge our performance by a different set of benchmarks:
- As announced at the February Board meeting, the Village expects the 2018/2019 Village budget to have a 0% tax increase;
- The current credit rating of the Village by Moody’s Investors Services is Aa2; in assigning this favorable, investment-grade rating, Moody’s cited our “stable finances supported by conservative budgeting, low pension and debt burden”;
- The Village has completed the renovation of its two parks – Copley Pond and Waldmann Memorial – at minimal or no cost to the Village residents;
- The Village has completed the re-planting and pruning of trees on Park Avenue and Manhasset Woods Road and the Village is undertaking the replanting of the Park Avenue hill and a vigorous re-planting program on other streets throughout the Village;
- The Village has completed the re-paving of Inness Place and portions of other streets; this Spring we will be re-paving Eakins Road (north of Park Ave.) and Hawthorne Place; additional streets will follow later in 2018;
- The cost of street re-paving is being funded by current cash flow and state grants. We believe that this approach is more conservative than the approach taken by a prior administration which, in 2007, took out a $2.75MM bond to repave a small portion of Village roads. We are still paying debt service on this bond in the amount of ~$300,000 per year (representing approximately 15% of the average homeowner’s Village tax bill), and the roads then repaired, now need to be repaired again; once the existing bond is repaid, the $300,000 will be used to accelerate the road renovation schedule; and
- Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, in the last report prepared by the Nassau County Police Department, there was no crime in Munsey Park.
As your Mayor and Trustees, our goal is to provide Village residents with a safe, welcoming, and beautiful Village that reflects the people who live here and deserve nothing less. We intend to continue to budget conservatively, with a view toward keeping taxes as low as possible. This approach necessarily means prioritizing projects; similar to how every household in the Village manages its finances. Much has been accomplished by the Village and we think the Village is in better shape – financially and physically – than ever before. We proudly stand on this record. However, we leave it to you, fellow residents, to determine whether we have been deserving of your trust.
The Mayor and Board of Trustees