BABYLON TOWN

Garbage collector, town in arbitration

Town officials are going to arbitration over a billing dispute with the company that collects its residential garbage.

The dispute between the town and Westbury-based EnCon Industries Corp. centers on interpretations of a payment formula that includes variables such as the federal consumer price and gasoline indexes.

The difference is 4 cents per household per month, but with more than 43,000 homes relying on EnCon for garbage pickup and a contract for 10 years of service, that difference becomes significant, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said.

Last year, the town paid EnCon $7,035,790.44. The company claims it is owed $7,056,652.68, a difference of almost $21,000.

"The town wants to make sure we're spending taxpayer money wisely," Bonner said. EnCon owner Anthony Core did not return a call for comment.

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The town signed a 10-year, $84 million contract with EnCon in 2012 after withdrawing from an agreement with the original contractor, Jody Enterprises, after two employees were charged with diverting recyclables in Smithtown.

Town officials say the inflation-pegged EnCon contract will result in a significant savings to taxpayers.

Arbitration is scheduled for May 12, with a decision expected three to four weeks later, Bonner said. - NICHOLAS SPANGLER 

 

POINT LOOKOUT

Fire district votes to level old building

Commissioners of the Lido and Point Lookout Fire District voted unanimously to start the process of demolishing the severely damaged Ye Olde Firehouse.

The commissioners voted Monday night and said they will follow all appropriate statutory processes, including a required bid from qualified firms, to demolish the building on Lido Boulevard. The process is to be completed over the next 60 to 90 days.

"It is recognized that removing the building is really the pragmatic solution," Commissioner Andrew Richter said in a news release.

Fire commissioners erected emergency scaffolding around the building last month after a consultant engineering firm recommended adding it to "protect the public" from the possibility of stucco falling off an outer wall.

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The building and the property, assessed at a market value of about $900,000, requires at least $2.7 million to make it comply with codes.

The building is uninhabitable and only a small portion is used by the fire district.

"As I have said recently, it's not fair to ask the public for almost $3 million in a bond to upgrade a building like this, when we have serious needs that total at least $6.5 million for our Lido and Point Lookout fire service buildings," Richter said in the statement.

Commissioners intend to preserve some of the building's contents, including "the fireplace, war memorial, 1939 World's Fair flagpole, and many fire district recognitions and items that remind the community of the district's place in local history," he said. - SID CASSESE

 

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FIRE ISLAND

Seashore closures for beetle eradication

Parts of the Fire Island National Seashore will be closed for two weeks starting Monday so officials can begin cutting down trees affected by the southern pine beetle.

A group from the National Park Service's Arborist Incident Response Team will begin cutting down the more than 600 trees that have been infested with the beetle, a pest native to the southern United States and first confirmed on Long Island last year.

The work will take place in areas of the Sunken Forest on Fire Island and the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach. The areas will be closed during the operation to protect public safety, park service officials said.

The felled trees will be cut into small pieces, allowing the beetle to be exposed to the elements and die, helping to slow the spread of the infestation, according to the park service.

The U.S. Forest Service has provided a $97,500 grant to cover the cost of the tree-cutting team.

The beetle has been found on federal, state, local and private lands across Suffolk County. It mainly attacks pitch pines, which make up most of Long Island's protected pine barrens. The beetle overwhelms trees through sheer numbers before flying to the next tree.

Experts say cutting down affected trees and, in warmer months, having a buffer of healthy trees, is the best way to halt the spread of the beetle. - JENNIFER BARRIOS

 

BABYLON TOWN

Garbage collector, town in arbitration

Town officials are going to arbitration over a billing dispute with the company that collects its residential garbage.

The dispute between the town and Westbury-based EnCon Industries Corp. centers on interpretations of a payment formula that includes variables such as the federal consumer price and gasoline indexes.

The difference is 4 cents per household per month, but with more than 43,000 homes relying on EnCon for garbage pickup and a contract for 10 years of service, that difference becomes significant, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said.

Last year, the town paid EnCon $7,035,790.44. The company claims it is owed $7,056,652.68, a difference of almost $21,000.

"The town wants to make sure we're spending taxpayer money wisely," Bonner said. EnCon owner Anthony Core did not return a call for comment.

The town signed a 10-year, $84 million contract with EnCon in 2012 after withdrawing from an agreement with the original contractor, Jody Enterprises, after two employees were charged with diverting recyclables in Smithtown.

Town officials say the inflation-pegged EnCon contract will result in a significant savings to taxpayers.

Arbitration is scheduled for May 12, with a decision expected three to four weeks later, Bonner said. - NICHOLAS SPANGLER 

 

ISLIP TOWN

Springtime sweeping on town roadways

Annual springtime street sweeping will begin on town roads throughout Islip in the coming weeks, town officials announced Thursday.

Town officials are asking residents to keep "obstructive items" out of the roadway in front of their homes, including cars and garbage pails, while Department of Public Works crews are sweeping the streets.

Only town roads are to be cleaned, not federal, state, or county roads in the town or those in private communities, officials said in a news release.

For details about the street-sweeping schedule, enter an address at http://townofislip-ny.gov/e-services/street-sweeping-schedule. - SARAH ARMAGHAN

 

NORTH HEMPSTEAD

Pretax cash can pay for hamlet parking

Port Washington residents can use pretax dollars to pay for parking in the Port Washington Parking District.

Town officials said this week that residents can use a credit card loaded with pretax dollars to pay for commuter parking. Taxpayers are allowed to assign income, before it is taxed, to cover part of their commuting expenses.

The cards the town will accept are from the Commuter Check Prepaid MasterCard program. The initiative is new to the town for commuter parking. - SCOTT EIDLER

 

MINEOLA

Caribbean business leaders to be saluted

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Caribbean Business Connections and the county's Office of Minority Affairs are to honor seven Caribbean business leaders at a Caribbean Leadership Breakfast and Recognition Ceremony Friday.

"The ceremony will recognize the accomplishments of the honorees for their good citizenship and efforts to give back to their local ... communities," Mangano said in a statement.

The keynote speaker will be Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T New York, who is responsible for the company's regulatory, public policy and community relations initiatives across the state.

The event is at 7:30 a.m. at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building in Mineola.

RSVP is required. Contact Ray Thomas at rayt247@gmail.com or call 516-523-3501 or contact Sandra McCarty at sandra@caribbeanbizconnections.com or by phone at 516-300-2427. - SID CASSESE

 

PORT JEFFERSON

Village sets hearing on 2015-16 budget

The Port Jefferson Village Board plans to hold an April 15 public hearing on its proposed 2015-16 budget.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 121 W. Broadway.

Details of the budget have not been released. Officials have discussed spending proposals at several recent budget workshops.

Mayor Margot J. Garant said she plans to have the budget adopted by May 1.

The village last year adopted a $9.99 million budget that raised property taxes on the average home by 4.48 percent, more than 3 percentage points higher than the village's 1.37 percent limit under the state tax cap law.

Village officials attributed that budget's 5.5 percent spending hike on mandatory increases to the state pension fund and contractual raises for village employees. - CARL MACGOWAN

 

AMITYVILLE

Moody's gives strong rating to district

Ratings agency Moody's assigned a high-quality Aa3 rating to the Amityville School District's $9 million in general obligation debt.

The rating was also applied to a $2.7 million bond issue scheduled for later this month when the district is to refinance earlier debt as a cost-saving measure.

"The Aa3 rating reflects the district's stable tax base benefiting from employment centers in Nassau County and New York City, manageable debt and pension burdens, and narrow but improving reserve levels," the agency said in a release Thursday.

District reserve levels and the size of its tax base are key indicators for Moody's, which said changes in either could affect future ratings.

The district serves 3,000 students from Amityville, North Amityville and Massapequa, and has a budget of $80,838,781.

In the 2013-14 school year, the last for which data were available, 77 percent of students were "economically disadvantaged," according to New York State reports, meaning they or their family members participated in assistance programs such as reduced lunch or Social Security insurance. - NICHOLAS SPANGLER 

 

NORTH BABYLON

Want family fun on April 11? Go fish

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on April 11 is to hold the annual Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park in North Babylon.

The festival has been designated a free fishing event, which suspends the freshwater fishing license requirement for anglers age 16 and older.

The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes open fishing, fishing instruction, fly-casting demonstrations and fish-cleaning services. In addition, a display area will be set up by the DEC and local fishing clubs. Loaner rods will be available but the supply is limited so participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing tackle. Free bait will be available to participants throughout the day.

The festival also will include children's activities and educational displays.

Before the festival, the DEC and parks department will stock Belmont Lake with about 4,000 brown, brook and rainbow trout as part of the state's spring trout stocking program for Nassau and Suffolk counties.

While the event is free, there is a vehicle use fee of $8. Parking is free for Empire Pass holders.

There is no rain date. In the event of inclement weather, call 631-444-0283 or 631-667-5055. - DENISE M. BONILLA