North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the Town Board are have wrapped up 2014 and looking are forward to a productive 2015 for town residents, but not without looking back at some of the accomplishments of the past year.
Bosworth was sworn in as town supervisor on Jan. 1, 2014, and immediately faced the challenge of more than a dozen snowstorms that tested the town’s highway department as well as many other townn departments.
“I think it was a blessing in disguise to be faced with an onslaught of snowstorms in my first days as supervisor,” Bosworth said. “It gave me a perfect opportunity to immediately work hand-in-hand with all of the department heads and commissioners in the town who play such a vital role during emergency management situations.”
Several important community issues arose in the first couple of months of the year as well. Bosworth, who has emphasized giving all residents “a seat at the table,” a phrase she coined at her inauguration on Jan. 5, 2014, included the community in the decision-making process behind several issues, including a proposed solar panel project at the landfill in Port Washington, and the bond proposal for the Roslyn Water District air stripper. Both projects were subject to hours of public debate over the days and weeks prior to the town board vote.
Following the town board’s decision to not move forward with the solar panel project due to a variety of community concerns, Bosworth said, “I promise the residents of North Hempstead that no town project will ever go forward without full input from those affected by it.”
Some North Shore communities were also affected by the surprise installation of more than 200 80-foot utility poles earlier this year by PSEG Long Island. At the town’s insistence, PSEG Long Island hosted a community forum in March so that the questions and concerns of hundreds of concerned residents could be addressed.
Introducing new technology to enhance government accessibility was a hallmark of the Bosworth administration in 2014. In January, Bosworth announced the launch of the “My North Hempstead” mobile app, which allows residents to access the 311 call center through their mobile phone and to take advantage of several features, including the ability to take a photo of a pothole and send it directly to 311 to be filled within two business days. The town board also approved live streaming of town board meetings on the town website, which began in late January.
Several major projects also began in 2014, many of which were part of the town’s five-year capital plan, which was approved unanimously by the town board in March. The entire capital plan can be viewed online http://www.northhempsteadny.gov/capitalplan. Some of the projects already completed include drainage projects at Allen and Brian Street in Searingtown and Essex Court in Port Washington, the construction of a one-mile stretch of the Hempstead Harbor Shoreline trail, and several highway equipment purchases, including new snowplows.
These projects moved forward while the town held the line on property taxes. In addition, the 2015 town budget was approved in October, prior to Election Day, with unanimous approval by the town board. Moody’s lauded the town’s financial standing with their announcement in September that the town’s bond rating is the highest in its history. The town’s short-term bond rating is at the highest level possible.
“It is always a delicate balance to provide critical services and complete important infrastructure projects, while also being fiscally conservative,” Bosworth said. “I am proud of the 2015 budget and five-year capital plan which I believe accomplish both goals.”
Other 2014 Town News
The applicant advocate position was created in the building department by Bosworth in January so there would be someone to meet one-on-one with town residents to assist them in the permit process. Community-based mobile hours and evening hours at the building department have also been introduced.
The town was designated a Purple Heart Town in June by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Bosworth also formed the first-ever town veterans advisory committee that meets bi-monthly to discuss veterans’ issues.
The North Hempstead Housing Authority is in the process of creating two senior housing projects at the former Mount Olive Baptist Church property in Manhasset and at the former Grand Street school property in New Cassel. The Grand Street School was demolished by the town in June to make way for the project and there was a public hearing before the town board on the Mount Olive property in November.
In December, the town was awarded $625,000 by New York State to be the lead agency on an electric charging station corridor along the Long Island Expressway. Seven other Long Island towns and Suffolk County are also involved in the project.
For more information on the town’s 2014 accomplishments, log on to www.northhempsteadny.gov and click on ‘News and Press Releases’ under the ‘Government’ tab.