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Glen Cove mayor cites savings in state-of-city address

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald A. Spinello presides at

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald A. Spinello presides at a city council meeting at Glen Cove City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Brad Penner

Glen Cove's employee buyout plan saved the city nearly $400,000 in 2014, one of several accomplishments Mayor Reginald A. Spinello touted in a State of the City speech.

The buyout program, which was approved in January 2014, attracted 16 employees, more than anticipated, Spinello said Wednesday night at City Hall.

"This has enabled us to reverse some of the structural deficit, create promotional opportunities, improve services and paved the way for much-needed and long-overdue restructuring of several departments," he said.

City Councilman Michael Famiglietti, a Democrat, said Spinello, an Independence Party member who ran on the Republican line, was not alone in the accomplishments of the past 15 months since Spinello took office. "We [Democrats] were a part of the whole process; we were working together as a team. Even though we are in the minority, our voices have been heard."

Workers who accept the incentive received 1 percent of their 2014 base salary multiplied by the number of years they served. The buyouts were capped at 20 percent of the 2013 base salary.

Spinello, who took office in January 2014, also touted record-setting crackdowns on illegal housing, with 20 prosecutions in 2014 bringing in $100,000 in fines. Between 2010 and 2013, such prosecutions ranged from one to five per year, officials said yesterday.

The city targeted homeowners who rented out portions of their home, and absentee landlords who allowed unlawful uses of their property.

This year, Glen Cove has closed 12 illegal housing matters, bringing in $34,000 in fines, and the city has 32 prosecutions pending in court, said Deputy City Attorney Kristina Heuser.

"If illegal landlords are going to continue violating the law, we expect more efforts to eradicate illegal housing," Heuser said.

Spinello also pointed to the opening of 25 new businesses and added that he expects major work to begin this summer on the $850 million waterfront development project.

"Downtown is finally waking up from a deep sleep," Spinello said.

Spinello recapped highlights of his first year in office, including legislation that led to a $12 million grant for a study and construction of a sewer system in Crescent Beach; bans on hookah lounges; restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes; and the sale of Glen Cove Mansion.

He also discussed the re-establishment of the Residential Rehabilitation Program, which helps income-eligible people age 60 and older and the disabled to make home repairs for energy conservation and bring properties up to code to accommodate disabilities. The city also created a senior outreach safety program through which the police department warns older residents about scams.

It's "an effort to prevent our seniors from becoming victims," Spinello said.

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