The residents of the Town of North Hempstead gathered at the Clubhouse at Harbor Links to listen to the Honorable Judi Bosworth, supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, give the fourth annual State of the Town address on Friday, Jan. 26.
The event began with a lunch organized by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset, where throngs of people gathered to hear the supervisor’s speech.
Bosworth kicked off her speech with praise for the many projects nearing completion this year in the Town of North Hempstead—and some projects that are just beginning.
“I set a goal for 2017 that we would see our bond rating upgraded to Triple A—and last March we hit the target,” she said. “We’ve reduced our debt by $32 million since 2014. All of our budgets have stayed within the New York State tax cap, without cutting services to our residents.”
Among the accomplishments in 2017, Bosworth noted the ribbon-cutting on the town’s 53rd park, Alvan Petrus Park in Port Washington. She also mentioned breaking ground on the Clinton G. Martin pool renovation project; the extensive community outreach for the visioning project of North Hempstead Beach Park; an approved slate of ethics reforms and a new anti-nepotism law; a more comprehensive procurement policy; board meeting transcripts made easier to access; and a continued strengthening of the commitment to openness and transparency by providing residents with detailed financial information regarding town finances.
“Accessing public information shouldn’t require jumping through hoops,” said Bosworth.
Meanwhile, the supervisor said the Building Department continues to offer extended hours of operation and will add staff in an effort to cut the time it takes to get a permit. Bosworth also delved into the new laws enacted in 2017.
“Tobacco 21 legislation took effect, prohibiting anyone under 21 from buying tobacco or tobacco-related products in the town,” she said. “We were the first municipality in Nassau County to enact this age restriction.”
Bosworth said the town also presented the fourth-consecutive five-year Capital Plan, which she said demonstrates a bipartisan commitment to maintaining and improving the town’s roads, parks and facilities and maximizes grant funding.
“The plan,” Bosworth continued, “includes $1 million dollars for sidewalk repair and $4.2 million for road repaving throughout the town.”
As for the business community, Bosworth said the town matched grants for the beautification of many downtowns, with plans underway for a street-scape project for Main Street in Port Washington. The strip of businesses, Bosworth noted, is a perfect representation of what businesses can add to communities.
“Even in the smallest business districts, our local shops and businesses provide hundreds of jobs,” she said. “Our local chambers do a magnificent job advocating for local businesses, encouraging people to shop local and we support the work they do.”
Another noteworthy project launched in 2017 is a farm-to-table effort by residents at the North Hempstead Housing Authority’s Magnolia Gardens, with 16 egg-laying chickens and corn. Meanwhile, the town also continues to offer community garden plots that residents can lease to grow their own vegetables and flowers at Clark Botanic Gardens.
“Protecting our environment here in North Hempstead has always been an important priority and this year, we achieved many positive steps in that direction to create a cleaner, safer environment in the town,” she said, adding that in 2017 the town launched a stormwater education program, built bat houses to reduce the mosquito population and even enlisted quails to help reduce ticks in the town.
In that same environmental vein, Bosworth said that protecting groundwater and cleansing the bays and harbors remains a top priority for her administration. Bosworth said that the New York City Department of Environmental Projection has submitted an application to activate 68 dormant groundwater wells in Jamaica, Queens, which would pump up to 68 million gallons a day from the town’s sole source aquifer. By comparison, the 15 water suppliers that serve the entire Town of North Hempstead pump an average of 42 million gallons per day. Therefore, the 68 million gallons a day pumped by New York City would account for approximate 36 percent of the county-wide average.
“This massive drain on our water supply system could have devastating effects on the future of our water supply,” Bosworth warned. “I am opposed to these efforts to secure permits for these supply wells, prior to the completion of the Long Island Groundwater Sustainability Study. We all must safeguard our drinking water and protect our aquifers.”
The town also applied for and was awarded more than $1.6 million in federal, state and local grants for a variety of projects, according to Bosworth. Among the grants, the town was recently awarded more than $1.14 million in regional economic development awards that will fund the extension of the Hempstead Harbor Train at North Hempstead Beach Park.
“The town used a $159,000 grant from the New York State Attorney General’s office to address the growing statewide problem of ‘zombie homes.’ Using this grant funding, the town focused on public outreach to those homeowners in danger of losing their homes,” said Bosworth. “Through the use of mailings and public service announcements, we let homeowners know the free resources that are available to them.”
On the veteran front, Bosworth said the Veterans Advisory Committee recently met with Congresswoman Kathleen Rice to discuss the possibility of locating a Northport Veteran’s Medical Center satellite office somewhere in North Hempstead. Also, last January, the town joined with several local VFW posts to conduct a memorial ceremony marking the 75th Anniversary of the Jan. 1, 1942, fatal plane crash in New Hyde Park, which claimed the lives of five servicemen who heroically sacrificed their own lives to avert crashing into the New Hyde Park neighborhood below.
“That is a brief recap of 2017,” said Bosworth. “2018 has already gotten off to a great start. We look to the future vision of our town and we are starting to see it take shape.”
Next week, look for Bosworth’s vision for the future of the Town of North Hempstead.