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Senator Phillips Helps Floral Park Fire Department Celebrate 125 Years

Floral Park Fire DepartmentSenator Elaine Phillips recently had the opportunity to march alongside some of Floral Park’s bravest in a parade that celebrated 125 years of outstanding service of the Floral Park Fire Department.

 

“For 125 years, the members of the Floral Park Fire Department committed their lives and have repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep the Floral Park community safe,” said Senator Phillips. “I want to thank Floral Park Chief David Maickel for allowing me to participate in the celebration and I especially want to relay my gratitude and deep respect to all the men and women who serve or have served this department.”

 

Floral Park Mayor Dominic Longobardi declared August 4th as “Floral Park Fire Department Day” in the Village which included the parade followed by food, music and a commendation ceremony. Members of the Elmont, New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Bellerose Terrace & Village and New York City fire departments also joined in the commemoration ceremonies.

 

A three part series on the 125-year history of the Floral Park Fire Department, produced by Four Village Studios, can be seen by visiting the Floral Park Fire Department’s web site at: https://fpvillage.org/departments/fire-department/.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

Sen. Marcellino’s Letter to MTA Chairman and CEO

Dear Chairman Lhota:

 

On August 1, 2018 a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train from Penn Station to Port Washington derailed on the Queens side of the East River tunnels. This is the second train that has derailed in that area in the past two weeks. Thankfully, no one was injured in either incident, but riders had to endure yet another round of service cancellations and delays.

 

Any derailment is dangerous and life threatening. It puts the ridership, employees and the greater public’s well-being in jeopardy. Two derailments in the same spot, in a two-week period, are unacceptable and calls into question the overall safety of the system.

 

Every individual who uses the trains or puts a loved one on a train on a daily basis deserves to know what is being done to prevent the next accident; an accident that may cause loss of life, injuries and substantial property damage. What is the plan, both long term and short term, to address these types of derailments? Is maintenance on the tracks and trains being neglected? What changes were made at the location of the most recent derailments between the July 21st incident and today?

 

The welfare of the ridership should always be the number one goal of the system. Recent events have called that commitment into question. I look forward to a timely response so I can share with my constituents what the MTA and LIRR are doing to give every rider the confidence that they will arrive at their destination safely.

 

Thank you in advance for your immediate action on this most serious safety issue.

 

Sincerely,
Carl L. Marcellino

 

Visit Senator Marcellino’s webpage

Senator Phillips Hosts Back-To-School Backpacks & Supplies Drive

Senator Elaine Phillips has announced she is partnering with United Way of Long Island and the Long Island Nets again this year for a “Stuff-A-Bus” school supply collection drive to benefit needy students throughout the region.

 

“As Senator, one of my top priorities is to ensure that our children have the basic tools necessary to acquire the knowledge and skills to not only succeed, but to excel, within and beyond the classroom,” said Senator Phillips.  “Thanks to the generosity of the residents in our region, last year’s supply drive was a great success and helped hundreds of students.  With the new school year quickly approaching, I am pleased to be coordinating this backpack and supplies drive once again and thank the United Way, Long Island Nets and our local libraries for their assistance.”

 

Supplies needed include backpacks, pens, pencils, rulers, protractors, lined paper, notebooks, composition paper, folders, binders, basic calculator, glue sticks and highlighters.

 

The drive is already underway and will run through August 17.  Donations can be dropped off at any of the following locations:

  • Senator Elaine Phillips District Office – 252 Mineola Boulevard, Mineola (516-746-5924)
  • East Williston Library – 2 Prospect Street, East Williston  (516-746-0782)
  • Elmont Library – 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, (516-354-5280 ext. x218)
  • Floral Park Library – 17 Caroline Place, Floral Park, (516-326-6330)
  • Franklin Square Library – 19 Lincoln Road, Franklin Square (516-488-3444)
  • Great Neck Library – 159 Bayview Avenue, Great Neck (516-466-8055 ext.254)
  • Manhasset Library – 30 Onderdonk Avenue, Manhasset (516-627-2300 ext. 7)
  • Mineola Library – 195 Marcellus Road, Mineola (516-746-8488)
  • Port Washington Library -  1 Library Drive, Port Washington (516-767-3263)
  • Shelter Rock Library – 165 Searingtown Road, Albertson (516-248-7363)
  • The Bryant Library – 2 Paper Mill Road, Roslyn (516-621-2240 ext.210)
  • Westbury Library – 445 Jefferson Street, Westbury (516-333-0176)
  • Williston Park Public Library – 495 Willis Avenue, Williston Park (516-742-1820)

 

For more information, please call Senator Phillips’ office at 516-746-5924.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage

‘Pet’ The Stress Away: Taxpayers Get 1st Ever Pet Therapy While Paying Taxes

There’s no denying it: paying taxes can be rather stressful. Luckily, Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and some avid animal advocates, have invited the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter to bring some furry friends to the Receiver of Taxes Office in order to help taxpayers pet the stress away. During the last three days of the collection period, beginning Wednesday, August 8th, the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter will be visiting the tax office along with some eager cats and dogs with enough love to go around. What’s more, taxpayers can bring home a little “tax dividend” by adopting a cuddly dog or cat.

 

“It’s a running joke that whenever I’m introduced as the Receiver of Taxes, everyone boos,” said Clavin. “It’s all in good humor, but it just reinforces the fact that taxes are all work and no fun. Well, I’ve enlisted the aid of some loveable animals to make my office a more exciting, fun-filled place to pay your taxes. And, you can make the fun never-ending by adopting a cat or dog while paying your taxes.”

 

This is the first ever pet therapy program to be held in a tax office. Interaction with an endearing animal has been linked to lower stress. According to the National Center for Biotechnical Information, contact with pets can counteract everyday stress and anxiety by lowering stress hormones and heart rate. What’s more, the National Institute of Mental Health states one of the best ways to deal with stress is to spend some quality time with a kitten or a puppy.

 

“The best part about this idea is that it promotes the practice of adopting a pet instead of shopping for a pet,” commented Clavin. “We receive an abundance of taxpayers who prefer to pay their taxes in person at the last minute. By showcasing our beloved animal shelter pets, we’re putting our ‘best paw forward’ and garnering interest in visiting the shelter.”

 

Hempstead Town Animal Shelter boasts one of the highest adoption rates in the nation. All adopted pets will be spayed or neutered, will be microchipped and will receive all required inoculations free of charge. Located at 3320 Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh, the shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sunday and Monday, 9am to 8pm on Thursday and 9am to 6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. For more information regarding the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter, please call the shelter at (516)785-5220.

 

“Playing with a cat or a dog is a great way to reduce the stress that can be associated with paying your taxes,” said Goosby. “I’m proud to support this program that benefits not only our residents, but also the rescued cats and dogs of the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter.”

 

“This pet therapy initiative makes the tax office a more enjoyable place to visit as well as showcasing some adoptable, loving animals. Remember to adopt, not shop when looking for a furry friend of your own,” said D’Esposito.

 

When paying your taxes, be sure to pick up a “Pet Fire Rescue Sticker” courtesy of Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin. A Pet Fire Rescue Sticker is a waterproof decal that details the amount of pets living in a household. The stickers can be placed on the front door of a residence to inform first-responders as to the number of pets in the household in case of emergency.

 

“I want to thank the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter for bringing a few furry friends on over to the tax office to help reduce some tax-related stress,” said Clavin. “I look forward to inviting some of the shelter’s furry family to future collections and am confident that this exposure will lead to more rescue animals finding forever homes.”

 

Visit Receiver Clavin’s webpage

Saladino, Hand Dedicate Oyster Bay Street in Memory of Community Activist, Shirlee Gerstein

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Thomas Hand recently hosted a ceremonial street renaming dedication ceremony in honor of Shirlee Gerstein for her decades of remarkable community service. For 46 years, Shirlee served as the face of the Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich – a leading organization for mental health, substance abuse and a myriad of other social services. The Agency is located on the street ceremonially renamed in Shirlee’s memory.

 

Supervisor Saladino stated, “I’m very proud to dedicate this special street to posthumously honor Shirlee Gerstein. For many decades, Shirlee Gerstein coordinated all social needs programs for the Agency, including the food pantry, emergency clothing program, Thanksgiving food drive and the Holiday Sharing Program. Three generations of individuals, in-need of services, knew that Shirlee would always be the kind, caring voice on the telephone and had the skill, desire and the ability to assist them in any way she could. Shirlee was the first employee hired by Agency and after a remarkable and distinguished career retired four years ago at the age of 86.”

 

Beyond the remarkable things she did for those who frequented the Agency, Shirlee also served as mentor to three generations of social workers and taught her colleagues how to care for those around us with compassion and dignity. Shirlee passed away last year, just before her 90th birthday and is sorely missed by her family and the members of the local community she impacted. Today’s street sign unveiling is a fitting tribute to Shirlee recognizing her years of loving service and dedication to Oyster Bay.

 

Councilman Hand stated, “This ceremonial street sign is a gesture of love and respect for Shirlee, as well as her family, friends and the colleagues who had the privilege of working alongside her. This sign will remain as a permanent reminder of Shirlee’s natural tendency of putting the needs of others ahead of her own. Shirlee sign will remain as a permanent reminder of Shirlee’s natural tendency of putting the needs of others ahead of her own.”

 

For more information regarding the Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich, please call (516) 922-6867.

 

Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website

 

Clavin Announces Bi-Partisan Law Guarding Against Censorship on Government Website, Social Media

Nearly two months after Hempstead Town’s administration censored an official press release on the government’s website, Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin thanked a bipartisan group of Town Board members for approving his legislation, which was sponsored by Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Majority Leader Erin King Sweeney and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. The legislation, approved at a recent Hempstead Town Board meeting, prohibits this unacceptable threat to free speech from happening again in the future. Also joining them in support of the measure were Councilmembers Ed Ambrosino, Bruce Blakeman and Dennis Dunne, Sr.

 

Proposed by Clavin, and introduced to the Town Board by the bipartisan coalition of councilmembers, the legislation protects free speech and guards against unwarranted censorship. Under the legislation, elected officials are now authorized to place press releases on the town’s website and social media outlets without securing approvals from the administration or other town officials.

 

“I thank the Hempstead Town Board for approving this important legislation that protects freedom of speech within our government,” Clavin said. “After all, as America’s largest township, we should be able to operate within the rights that are guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, and never be censored when it comes to serving our taxpayers.”

 

This legislation was drafted in June, shortly after the town’s administration removed a Clavin press release from the government website, toh.li. Clavin held a press conference on Monday, June 11, 2018, which announced a successful campaign by the Receiver, some county legislators and a group of angry senior citizens, calling upon the Nassau County Department of Assessment to reverse its decision to halt the mailing of important property value notices to Nassau homeowners. The notices provide important information, and the contents are the basis upon which many homeowners decide whether or not to challenge their property taxes. The press conference was accompanied by a press release, a key part of the effort to advise the public of the fact that they will continue to receive vital property tax information from county government.

 

The Supervisor’s administration approved the press release and posted it to the town’s website. However, almost as soon as the press release appeared, it was stricken from the town’s website by the administration’s staff on June 14, 2018. Clavin immediately wrote to the Town Board, asking for a legislative measure that would prevent such an action from happening again.

 

“The First Amendment is near and dear to my heart, as I have fought tirelessly to protect free speech and our constitutional rights for decades,” Goosby said. “Censorship is unacceptable here in America’s largest township, and I support this legislation because it will protect us from those who would limit our right to free speech.”

 

“To achieve true transparency in government, we must ensure that our town’s website and social media channels are free of censorship,” King Sweeney said. “The town’s website, in particular, is a key resource for residents seeking municipal documents and contracts, as well as event listings and important public service announcements. I proudly support this legislation to protect the free speech of elected officials representing America’s largest township.”

 

“Government press releases are vital sources of information for our residents, and no elected official or staffer has the right to block another elected official from distributing them through the town’s website or social media channels,” said Councilman Anthony D’Esposito. “It’s quite disturbing that the current administration decided to expunge an informative press release submitted by our tax receiver’s office. However, under the new legislation, no one will be above the law.” D’Esposito also cited that at least one of his office’s press releases was censored by the administration from appearing on the Town of Hempstead website.

 

The legislation that Clavin and his colleagues on the Hempstead Town Board championed provides all Hempstead Town elected officials with direct access to the township’s website and social media channels, providing them with the ability to post press releases, videos and other content that is related to activities, proposals, statements and other undertakings done in the course of their work on behalf of the residents whom they are elected to represent. The content can relate to local, county, state, federal or other governmental issues or other topics of interest or which promote the general welfare of the town’s residents. Further, the legislation prohibits any town official or his/her staff from overseeing, approving, disapproving, removing, altering or otherwise editing the press releases, videos or other related content of the town’s elected officials.

 

“Communicating with residents is so crucial to governing,” said Councilman Ed Ambrosino. “To censor materials created by town officials is a violation of the principles upon which our nation was founded. This legislation protects our First Amendment rights, and I fully support it.”

 

“My late father was a proud veteran who courageously fought for our rights as Americans, and he would be proud of all of us for protecting our right to free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Councilman Bruce Blakeman said. “This legislation safeguards our ability as elected officials to disseminate important news and announcements to our residents without being censored. That’s something we can all rally around as Hempstead Town residents, and as Americans.”

 

“Being a veteran, I know a thing or two about protecting the freedoms which comprise the building blocks of our nation,” said Councilman Dennis Dunne. “To try to tamper with our right to free speech is an insult to all of those who have fought or sacrificed their lives for our country. I support this legislation because it solidifies our right to express free speech in Hempstead Town without censorship.”

 

Clavin thanked the Town Board members for their support of the important free speech legislation.

 

“The First Amendment can never be taken for granted,” Clavin said. “Censoring elected officials from communicating with the constituents whom they represent violates our constitutional rights. I thank my Town Board colleagues for their support and for approving this vital legislation.”

 

Visit the Town of Hempstead

Assemblyman Curran Secures Grant For Baldwin Civic Association

Baldwin Civic AssociationAssemblyman Brian Curran recently announced that he has been able to secure a state grant in the amount of $2,500 for the Baldwin Civic Association. The grant will be used to support the organization’s work in the community.

 

“I am always pleased when I can help the organizations that make our community a great place to live,” said Curran. “Securing state funding to help local organizations, municipalities and residents is what government should be about – not squabbling and corruption. I am grateful for the work the Baldwin Civic Association does in our community and I will continue to help it and other local organizations to the best of my ability as our representative in Albany.”

 

“The Baldwin Civic Association is extremely grateful to receive this New York state grant through Assemblyman Brian Curran,” said Baldwin Civic Association President Karen Montalbano. “The money will help support the work of the BCA, especially community events and our beautiful community garden.”

 

Visit Assemblyman Curran’s webpage

Senator Phillips Introduces Property Tax Legislation Helping Nassau County Seniors, Disabled

Senator Elaine Phillips announced today that she has introduced legislation, S.9146, which would provide property tax parity for Nassau County senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

 

“Long Island has one of the highest cost of living indexes in both the state and the entire country. A huge part of that equation is the high cost of housing which severely impacts seniors and those with disabilities living on a fixed income,” Senator Phillips said. “By boosting income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE), and the Disabled Home owners’ Exemption (DHE) we are providing an avenue to allow more individuals to remain in their homes and not be faced with exorbitant property taxes. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and will work to see it is enacted into state law.”

 

Last month, Senator Phillips joined with Floral Park senior citizens, Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello to demand that Nassau homeowners be granted the same income eligibility levels for senior citizen property tax exemptions homeowners in New York City, which were recently increased under a new law.

 

“Owning a home on Long Island is expensive, especially for senior citizens and people with disabilities, many of whom are living on a fixed income,” Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin said. “It’s only right that our Nassau homeowners get the same level of property tax relief as our neighbors in New York City are enjoying. Accordingly, I want to thank Senator Elaine Phillips for sponsoring legislation that would ‘level the playing field’ for our mature residents by increasing the income eligibility levels for the Senior Citizens Property Tax Exemption in Nassau County.”

 

The newly approved law boosts income eligibility levels for New York City seniors and persons with disabilities who seek an exemption by as much as 72.4 percent. For example, the pre-existing income ceiling of $29,000 for a full 50 percent exemption (the highest exemption level) is raised to $50,000 under the law. In addition, the maximum income level that a New York City senior may achieve and still be eligible for an exemption has been increased to $58,399 from $37,399.

 

Prior to the newly minted legislation that boosted income limits for NYC’s seniors, the City’s income eligibility limits were identical to those that are applicable to Long Island property owners. The law (Chapter 131 of the RPTL), which was signed into effect by the Governor on July 25, 2017, provides for the City of New York to “opt in.” Before the passage of the new law, the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption income eligibility limits for New York City included a maximum adjusted gross income of $37,399, which provided a 5 percent exemption. Those with an adjusted gross income of $29,000 or less qualified for a 50 percent exemption. And, the law provided for eight incremental income levels between the base and the maximum eligibility amounts, each carrying a graduated exemption percentage based on income.

 

The following table details the previous income/exemption amounts for New York City homeowners (these amounts remain in force for Long Island and the rest of New York State):

Income

Exemption

$29,000 or LESS 50 percent
$29,001 to $29,999 45 percent
$30,000 to $30,999 40 percent
$31,000 to $31,999 35 percent
$32,000 to $32,899 30 percent
$32,900 to $33,799 25 percent
$33,800 to $34,699 20 percent
$34,700 to $35,599 15 percent
$35,600 to $36,499 10 percent
$36,500 to $37,399   5 percent

 

New York City’s income/exemption amounts under the newly adopted state legislation have risen to the following levels:

Income

Exemption

$50,000 or LESS 50 percent
$50,001 to $50,999 45 percent
$51,000 to $51,999 40 percent
$52,000 to $52,999 35 percent
$53,000 to $53,899 30 percent
$53,900 to $54,799 25 percent
$54,800 to $55,699 20 percent
$55,700 to $56,599 15 percent
$56,600 to $57,499 10 percent
$57,500 to $58,399   5 percent

 

 

The measure is now pending in the Senate Committee on Rules.

 

Visit Senator Phillips’ webpage.

 

Saladino Announces Free Program to Train Unemployed Workers for Careers in Medical Office Administration Billing

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced that the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs has been awarded a grant from the New York State Department of Labor to train unemployed workers in Medical Office Administration or Medical Billing Specialist programs at Hunter Business School in Levittown. Upon program completion, Northwell Health and several other employers will interview trainees for entry-level clerical positions that offer opportunities for advancement and career pathways.

 

Supervisor Saladino stated, “The Town of Oyster Bay and the Workforce Development Board are committed to bolstering local employment and connecting trained unemployed workers with employers. This new initiative will help unemployed workers acquire skills in the high demand fields of Medical Office Administration and Medical Billing. I thank Hunter Business School for working with us to develop a program that helps put unemployed residents back to work.”

 

The 600-hour Medical Office Administration program offers a blend of classroom and hands-on training. Students learn computer data entry of patient information, patient files, filing systems and records, and billing and coding. They also gain expertise in computerized accounting using QuickBooks. In addition to courses in management and computer applications, students learn anatomy and physiology, health care administration, electronic medical records, insurance theory, and insurance claims management. Participants are trained in how to navigate Medicare, how to respond to medical emergencies, and in understanding healthcare law (e.g., Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Occupational Safety and Health Act).

 

The Medical Billing Specialist program is a 180-hour program that prepares students to obtain entry-level employment in medical billing and coding in hospitals, medical insurance companies, and physicians’ offices. Students learn accounts receivable, insurance billing, patient statements, superbills, appointment scheduling, procedure history, posting payments, diagnosis history, hospital rounds record-keeping, and referring doctor information.

 

Program graduates typically obtain entry-level employment as medical office specialists, medical file coordinators, medical billing specialists, and patient coordinators in hospitals, clinics, or physicians’ offices.

 

This program is coordinated by the Workforce Development Board (WDB). The Town of Oyster Bay, Town of North Hempstead and City of Glen Cove are proud members of the WDB. For more information on the program or WDB, please contact the Massapequa Career Center at (516) 797-4560 and business@oysterbay-ny.gov.

 

Visit the Town of Oyster Bay website

Receiver Clavin Launches Long Island’s First Taxpayers’ Podcast Series

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin will be riding the Internet airwaves as he is set to premiere the first episode of “Taxpayers First”; Long Island’s first taxpayers’ podcast series. “Taxpayers First” is a brand new podcast where the Receiver himself will interview prominent community leaders and elected officials, as well as feature important information for local taxpayers. The podcast will be available for free and featured on the Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes social media pages @TOHReceiver and at TOHReceiver.buzzsprout.com.

 

“Podcasts offer the opportunity for broadcasters to reach out and connect with the community right through the listener’s headphones,” said Clavin. “I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to keep residents informed about how they can reduce their tax burden and other important issues.”

 

As Long Island property owners clamor for more information on how to challenge their property assessments and take advantage of tax exemptions, the Receiver is making it more convenient than ever to learn about the necessary intricacies of school and property taxes. In the wake of a looming property assessment overhaul in Nassau County, “Taxpayers First” will keep residents up to date on all important assessment information, as well as offering advice for homeowners.

 

The Receiver already has a slew of interviewees slated to appear on his podcast “Taxpayers First,” starting with New York State Senator Elaine Phillips. The two will converse about the increasing cost of living on Long Island and what that means for its “golden-aged” residents. The Senator and the Receiver partnered earlier this month to propose an increase to the income eligibility limits for the Senior Citizens’ Property Tax Exemption.

 

“I’m excited to be the inaugural guest on Receiver Clavin’s ‘Taxpayers First’ podcast,” stated Senator Phillips. “Podcasts reach a great amount of listeners, whether they’re commuting to work or simply doing some chores around the house. It’s a convenient tool for residents to stay up to date on their local government.”

 

Recently, Clavin held the first Facebook Town Hall, where he went live on Facebook and fielded questions from viewers concerning property tax exemptions, assessment challenges and personal tax-related questions. Additionally, the Receiver is very active on his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts @TOHReceiver.

 

“Right now, we are living in a world that is heavily influenced by social media and there is an abundance of resources out there to truly bring good government to the residents,” concluded Clavin. “Be sure to tune in to my new podcast ‘Taxpayers First,’ as this will set the tone for government leaders to better connect with their communities in the future.”

 

Visit Receiver Clavin’s webpage