North Hempstead plans to strengthen ethics measures, renovate its parks, and use $16 million it received in government grants for such measures as restoring wetlands and preventing future zombie homes, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said Friday during her annual State of the Town address.
During her speech before a crowd of more than 100 at the town’s Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington, Bosworth, a Democrat, recapped the biggest initiatives the town tackled in 2016 and hinted at what’s to come in 2017.
She noted that next month, a special committee will present ways to tweak town laws in an effort to straighten out financial disclosures and improve town employee ethics.
Last year, former North Hempstead Democratic Party leader Gerard Terry — who had served as the town’s board of zoning appeals attorney and had advised the town attorney’s office — was charged with felony tax fraud.
Meanwhile, the town’s then-Highway Superintendent Thomas Tiernan resigned after a Newsday investigation found that he garnered more than $134,000 in overtime over five years and had four relatives on the town payroll.
His sister, former administrative assistant Helen McCann, had been charged with embezzling more than $98,000 from the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority.
Since then, progress has been made to prevent such events, Bosworth said.
“We have totally reworked our procurement policy and procedures, and have put a procurement officer in place to oversee this,” she said, adding that the new procedures will “lead to more competitive bids and will save taxpayer dollars.”
Also coming in 2017: pool renovations at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park. Several park renovations happened in 2016, Bosworth said, including an outdoor classroom at Bunky Reid Park in Westbury, refurbished ponds at Clark Botanic Garden in Roslyn Heights and a pool restoration at Whitney Pond Park in Manhasset.
Manhasset resident Charlene Prounis, who attended Bosworth’s speech, said she was impressed with the ways North Hempstead is trying to protect the environment and spruce up public amenities.
“Things that enhance our quality of living here is what I had my ears to,” Prounis said. “I live in a great town, but we don’t have nice parks and beautiful walkways yet. You’d have to join a country club to have that.”
Bosworth listed other points during her speech, such as a slightly improved town credit rating from Moody’s, a 2017 budget that’s under the state-mandated tax cap, and a unanimous vote by the town board in November to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21.
“North Hempstead joins New York City and Suffolk County as local municipalities that have done this,” Bosworth said. “I am also very hopeful that our 31 villages will follow suit.”