The Hempstead Town Board voted 6-0 on Thursday to retroactively move millions of dollars to cover expenses that came in over budget in 2017, including more than $10 million for additional payroll costs in some departments.
Those transfers from town fund balances for underbudgeted salaries and wages included an extra $4.3 million for the General Services Department, $3.4 million for the Parks and Recreation Department and $766,000 for the former supervisor’s office.
John Grzan, an accountant in the town comptroller’s office, said the transfers were necessary in large part to cover termination pay for the large number of employees who left the town last year.
He noted that the town came in around $16.5 million under budget overall last year.
Town Supervisor Laura Gillen took issue with the timing of the measure, a seven-page “emergency” resolution that was added to the agenda during the meeting, saying she had had little time to review it.
Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney was absent.
Town spokesman Mike Fricchione said the adjustments were necessary for the completion of an independent audit of the town’s 2017 finances. He said he did not know why the comptroller’s office waited until now to make the adjustments.
The board also voted 6-0 to require businesses that sell electronic cigarettes known as vapes to post signs warning that they contain nicotine that is addictive and that smoking them can be a health hazard.
The measure is aimed at curbing the use of electronic cigarettes among young people, said Councilman Dennis Dunne, who proposed it.
“One of the concerns I’ve heard constantly is that the teens using these vape products have no idea what they contain,” Dunne said.
“It’s really very, very addictive,” he said.
The signs, which must be posted by Oct. 15, feature warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Surgeon General.
Corinne Alba, the director of prevention and outreach at YES Community Counseling Center in Levittown, called the measure “a step in the right direction.”
Councilman Bruce Blakeman said: “Anything we can do to notify the public that this is a public health concern is important.”
The board also voted 6-0 to authorize close to $7 million in bond resolutions for improvements to town facilities, including $900,000 to replace generators at wells in the Roosevelt Field Water District and $700,000 for improvements at Elmont Road Park, Harold Walker Park and other town parks.
The board also voted 6-0 to authorize an agreement with Molloy College, which has offered a 30 percent tuition discount to town employees and one child per employee.