Kaiman speech outlines past achievements

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In his tenth State of the Town address since assuming office in 2004, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman on Wednesday outlined the fruits of his past efforts, but offered little in the way of a future agenda.

Kaiman's speech, delivered at the town's Harbor Links golf course in Port Washington and hosted by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset, focused in part on superstorm Sandy's effect on the town.

"It changed who we are as a community and as a region," Kaiman said. He touted the town's 311 system as a lifeline for town residents during and after the storm, and said that the complete financial impact of Sandy on the town was not yet clear.

Kaiman also pointed to the new Yes We Can community center in New Cassel as one of his administration's achievements, as well as the recent vote to acquire the Great Neck Arts Center building to serve as a focal point for arts in the town in that region. He also said the town was applying for accreditation from the International Accreditation Service for its once-troubled building department -- a status given only to a handful of building departments across the country, and one he said he expected the town's department would receive.

Kaiman often reached back into his early state-of-the-town speeches that foretold the success of his initiatives, such as the 311 calling system and Project Independence -- an effort to keep the town's seniors healthy and aging in place. Although this year's speech was light on future initiatives, Kaiman did mention that the town planned to look into filing tax challenges with the county on behalf of its roughly 75,000 homeowners, as well as create a townwide alert system for future disasters.

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After the speech, Kaiman said he decided to focus on his achievements as a way to commemorate a decade as supervisor.

"Ten years is kind of a moment to look back and reflect, and kind of gather in all that we've done," he said. "I tried to point out that even at the end, what we are doing is we are building a foundation. The stuff that we're doing [is] meant to continue in an institutional way, so it's no longer about Jon Kaiman's ideas or my kind of willpower to see these things through."

But the move could further fuel discussion about whether Kaiman has plans that extend beyond the town. Kaiman, who was said to be in consideration to lead the Long Island Power Authority before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call to privatize the utility, recently met with fellow Democrats to discuss whether he should run for county executive. Kaiman wouldn't address those questions Wednesday, but had one word ready when asked if he really wanted to go to the county: "No."

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