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Voters approve plan

to expand fire station

Coram fire district residents on Tuesday approved a $2.9 million plan to expand a substation.

Coram fire commissioner said the bond proposition passed, 52-43. He said construction should be completed later this year.

Voters approved $2.825 million in bonds to finance a 46 percent expansion of the district’s station 2, on Route 112 and Pine Road. District officials have said annual fire taxes for the average home would increase by about $48.20.

The total cost of the project is $2.975 million. The remaining $150,000 will come from a fire district reserve account, Coram officials said.

District officials plan to expand station 2, which was built in 1976, from the current 4,913 square feet to 7,192 square feet. The additional space will include a new truck bay, increasing the number of bays from four to five. Coram officials said the work is necessary to comply with federal safety standards and accommodate larger fire trucks purchased in recent years. The project also would include the replacement of aging windows, doors, floors and the roof. — CARL MACGOWAN


Appointees can still

run for elected office

Hempstead Town Board members defeated a measure that would block appointees from running for election.

Supervisor Laura Gillen had proposed a resolution that would require anyone appointed to fill an elected position make a commitment they would not use the advantage of incumbency to run for the seat.

The resolution was floated ahead of the November election where Council members Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman are up for re-election and Ed Ambrosino’s seat is open as he faces federal charges of tax evasion and wire fraud. He has pleaded not guilty and is not seeking re-election.

Five Republicans on the town board were all appointed to their seats before they were eventually elected. Democrats Dorothy Goosby and Gillen were first elected.

The town board defeated the resolution 4-2, with Goosby and Gillen voting for the resolution and King Sweeney absent.

Last year, board members initially tabled Gillen’s resolution that would fill vacancies by calling for a special election. — JOHN ASBURY


Partnership to help

avoid foreclosures

Babylon Town is joining with the Long Island Housing Partnership to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The town board last week unanimously approved entering into a one-year contract with the housing partnership to provide services for at-risk homeowners at a cost not to exceed $40,000. The town attorney has the option to extend the contract for an additional period.

Town spokesman Kevin Bonner said the contract has not been finalized so the scope of services that the housing partnership will provide has not been defined. However, he said, the town is looking to have the housing partnership provide mortgage and foreclosure counseling to residents at risk of defaulting on their mortgage.

The town for several years has been instituting new measures to combat “zombie” homes — houses that are in foreclosure and abandoned, often falling into disrepair. In 2016 the town began requiring banks and mortgage lenders to register with the town as soon as a home mortgage goes into default. The banks and mortgage lenders must pay a registration fee to the town, half of which the town keeps while the other half goes to Melbourne, Florida-based ProChamps, the company hired by the town to manage the registry.

The Long Island Housing Partnership partnered with Islip Town last year in a similar effort to help homeowners at risk for mortgage default, also for $40,000, which was to be paid through state grants. That initiative involved the mailing of notices to homeowners to connect them with housing partnership counselors. The housing partnership also has paired with Brookhaven Town, which used state grants, to provide free mortgage counseling seminars.



Tentative budget

might pierce tax cap

Saltaire Village officials have unveiled a tentative budget that would increase spending by about 8 percent and potentially pierce the state tax cap.

The tentative $3.9 million budget would increase spending by nearly $300,000 for the Fire Island village of 400 homes, according to the document.

“There is still a lot of work to do on the budget, but I am fairly certain that we will pierce the tax cap this year,” clerk/administrator Mario Posillico said in an email.

The board voted this month to pre-emptively pierce the 2 percent tax cap, a move officials have taken every year since 2011 without using it before, officials have said.

Officials expect to outspend the current year’s appropriations by about $135,000 and project a deficit of about $245,000, according to the budget.

For 2019-2020, costs would increase for several departments, including recreation, docks and beaches, according to the budget.

Salaries would increase by 6.6 percent, from about $1.3 million to more than $1.4 million, according to the budget. The largest raise would go to Posillico, a longtime employee whose salary would increase by nearly $50,000 to $223,750. Posillico is also the building inspector, assessor and budget director.

The board will host a budget workshop on March 13 and a public hearing on April 10.


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