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Sandy-related fee waiver extended

Hempstead Town lost about $1.5 million in building department fees by waiving home reconstruction and repair permit charges to help ease rebuilding efforts for homeowners still dealing with superstorm Sandy's aftermath, officials said.

But the town board Tuesday voted unanimously for the fifth time to extend the fee waiver program until June 30. It allows for all building department fees to be waived for Sandy-related structural repairs and alterations that conform to the building's original dimensions and specifications. Permit fees can reach $2,500.

The building department also has waived fees for temporary housing trailers and storage pods used during construction. Additionally, the town has eliminated a requirement for a building variance for residents elevating their damaged homes to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency flood height standards.

Residents also will not have to pay fees to the town clerk's office to replace documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses and passports, officials said.

For more information, call the building department at 516-812-3073 or the town clerk's office at 516-489-5000, ext. 3046.


Funding for sewer extension in village

Patchogue Village has been awarded more than $1.5 million in state and county funds for a sewer extension project along River Avenue.

The village board announced the funding for the $2.3 million project during its meeting Monday.

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York provided $1 million and the Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure Program committed $578,000 to the project.

Village officials said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fix a problem that has plagued the area for decades.

While $500,000 in surplus from the village sewer fund will supplement the state and county funding, Patchogue will use a 30-year, $350,000 bond to pay the remainder of the costs, officials said. Village residents will pay $325 annually over the life of the bond.

The sewer extension affects 55 properties, officials said.

"We got what we needed to do the project," Mayor Paul Pontieri said.

Requests for proposals on the extension on River Avenue at Prince and Sunset streets could start later this month, and construction is expected to take one year, officials said.


Councilwoman makes state history

Hempstead Town Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby has been elected president of the Association of Towns of the State of New York, becoming the first African-American to hold the position.

The board Tuesday announced that the association last month elected Goosby to a one-year term starting in May. Goosby in the past year was the first vice president of the organization and was the first African-American to serve on the executive board.

"Association members have entrusted me with a very important position, and I look forward to confronting the challenges that await me in the year ahead," Goosby said in a statement. "From large townships such as ours to the small ones in upstate New York, the association is responsible for formulating policy and formalizing programs that benefit everyone."

The association includes more than 97 percent of the 932 townships in the state. Created in 1933, the organization, assists town governments by developing legislation and providing training, technical assistance and legal services.

"The Association of Towns has rewarded Councilwoman Goosby for her remarkable career in public service," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement, calling Goosby "a natural leader who values the importance of shared ideas and mutual respect."

First elected to the board in 1999, Goosby was the lead plaintiff in a landmark anti-discrimination lawsuit that forced Hempstead Town to hold district elections.

A Democrat, she is the first African-American woman to serve on the town's board.


No more tip-offs to property searches

Westbury officials have amended village law to no longer require sending suspected code violators mail alerting them the village plans to seek a court-issued search warrant for their property.

The board on Thursday voted 5-0 to end the requirement, which Mayor Peter Cavallaro argued essentially alerts code violators that an investigation is underway.

Village officials usually seek permission to enter properties when they suspect homeowners of illegal activity. Compiling evidence and applying for a search warrant follows if permission is denied, but a letter had to be sent first through certified mail.

Cavallaro, an attorney, said the requirement "requires us to basically tip off people who we knew were violating our law."


Meet the officials at a town hall meeting

Hempstead Town Councilman Edward Ambrosino is hosting a town hall meeting Thursday for Salisbury, Westbury and East Meadow residents to meet with town officials and address problems or concerns in their communities.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the W. Tresper Clarke High School, 740 Edgewood Dr., East Meadow.

Residents will be able to meet Ambrosino and his staff to address town-related concerns. Representatives from town departments are expected to attend to answer questions about building permits, sanitation, parks, events and other town programs and services.

For more information, contact Ambrosino's office at 516-812-3179.

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