After a public work session in March and a public hearing on April 13, the Manorhaven Board of Trustees passed the village budget for 2015-2016 at its April 23 meeting.
“The good news is that the total tax levy for the village remains the same,” said village clerk Leslie Gross. When asked if this means that homeowners and businesses in the village will not see an increase in taxes, Gross stated that until the figures from the Nassau County Tax Assessment Office are provided to the village, it cannot make that assurance. Steve Antake of AVZ & Company P.C., the accounting firm for the village, confirmed that Manorhaven does not perform its own tax assessments. The village depends upon the county’s assessment, so it must wait to receive their numbers before they know if there will be an increase in taxes. The county must provide its numbers by the end of May.
Expenses for the village will decrease because it is almost finished paying off a settlement to A.G. Towers, the owner and operator of the cell tower located on Manhasset Isle, in connection with a lawsuit that alleged that the village had wrongfully withheld a certificate of occupancy for the cell phone tower. The village also expects to pay off a short-term bond which was used to repay taxpayers.
The board is also carrying out a plan to implement technological solutions in order to streamline administration. They have approved a contract with Satelite.Biz, a company that provides “wrap around software” which enables municipalities, towns and villages to accept credit card payments.
John Dresch, President of Satellite.Biz, said the software interface that the company provides costs the village nothing. A resident choosing to make a payment to the village using a credit card will be assessed a three per cent service charge. Dresch stressed at the April 23 boar meeting that residents will still have the option of paying by check. “They are gaining additional options for payment,” Dresch told the trustees. “Even more important, this opens a portal that can be expanded to provide payment by e-checks and eventually automatic billing and payment on line,” continued Dresch. The interface will be accomplished through a link on the village website.
Gross is also looking at new billing software for the village. “These initiatives will promote increased administrative efficiency,” said Gross.
On another front, the village will be participating in the Plant a Row For The Hungry Project. The project was started several years ago by local resident Marvin Makovsky in order to raise vegetables for people in the community who are hungry. Many organizations, including Our Lady of Fatima Church in Manorhaven, have food collection programs for people in need. However those ongoing efforts usually center around non perishable food, such as cans and packaged goods. The Plant a Row For The Hungry Project focuses on fresh vegetables. Residents are asked to donate excess vegetables they raise. Donated vegetables are weighed at the Bayle’s Garden Center and then taken to Our Lady of Fatima for distribution.
This year, the project has added another dimension. Large planters painted by local artists are available for purchase to be planted with vegetables. Manorhaven will sponsor two of these planters.